Plymouth remembers its fallen heroes



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Plymouth honored its fallen war heroes with a Memorial Day parade and an inspiring observance at Town Hall on Monday. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
June 01, 2011
PLYMOUTH — Our wounds are still raw, and have only barely begun to heal, but Monday morning, Plymouth area residents gathered together, with pride, to honor the memory of our beloved, fallen heroes with a stirring tribute in words and music.

On Memorial Day, many people carry special memories of individual loved ones in their hearts — a father, uncle, grandparent, brother, sister, son or daughter, who gave their life so that others could enjoy freedom and hopefully, inherit the peace.

In Plymouth, Douglas DiCenzo, Marc Decoteau and Jared Van Aalst were uppermost in the thoughts and prayers of many who participated in Memorial Day Observances.

Keynote speaker Capt. Rob Stuart, United States Air Force and recently returned from military service in Iraq, chose to highlight the accomplishments and lasting legacy of these local heroes in his moving remarks during the mid-day ceremony outside Town Hall.

"These three sons of Plymouth were leaders and warriors," said Stuart. "Even after their deaths, they still continue to lead, and to inspire this community. We come together because of them. We work harder because of them. We appreciate each other more because of them, and we understand how precious life is because of them."

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Plymouth World War II veteran Lyndon King participates in Memorial Day ceremonies on Monday. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
In giving tribute to these fallen warriors, Stuart also gave tribute to the sacrifices of their friends and family members, and also to the entire Plymouth community.

"It is no accident that so many Plymouth Regional High School graduates volunteer to service in harm's way," commented Stuart. "Our families are not the only ones that instilled the values of service and sacrifice. Our community did that, as well. We pray that the next generation will inherit the peace that others have given their lives to deliver, but if the they do not, the sons and daughters of this community stand ready to sacrifice as they always have, and always will."

Iraq veteran, Staff Sgt. Lena Williams, from the New Hampshire National Guard, set the tone for the proceedings. She said that since 1866, Americans have been stopping to remember those service men and women who have fallen in the line of duty.

"On the last Monday in May, we pause to honor those who rose to meet impossible odds and did extraordinary things," said Williams. "Their lives were dedicated not to conflict and death, but to compassion and life. They stood shoulder to shoulder against terror and oppression, and gave their lives with passion, joy and enthusiasm in the service of liberty and life. Therefore, Memorial Day is not so much a day of solemn mourning, but of reverent celebration."

As is traditional, attendees also heard from Plymouth's resident poet, Kate Donahue, who read her original poem, "Ballad of the Gold Star Mothers," which has become a favorite of so many in the community.

Music was provided by the combined Wentworth and Russell Elementary School (Rumney) bands, the Baker Valley Band, and others. Along with a contingent of distinguished local veterans, elected public officials, and National Guard members, several local Fire Companies participated in the Memorial Day Parade, as did the Pemi Baker Valley Republican Committee, the Grafton Equestrians, 4H Club and Boy Scout troops. They marched from the National Guard Armory, stopping for the ceremony at Town Hall, and ending at the American Legion Hall on South Main Street.

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