Gilford observes Memorial Day and hears call to 'do one thing that benefits the greater good'

GILFORD — Yesterday's annual Memorial Day service and parade brought a solemn feeling of pride and sacrifice to the few hundred who attended.

Beginning at the monument and flag pole in the center of the village, Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee and Lt. Col. Kurt Webber U.S. Army, Ret. and Gilford Scoutmaster Kurt Webber raised the flag while two members of Webber's Boy Scout Troop 243 placed a wreath before the monument.

A parade led the the Motorcycle Officer Jim Callahan, Lt. Kris Kelley and the Police Department color guard and the Fire Department color guard led the parade up Belknap Mountain Road to the Pine Grove Cemetery where Bean-Burpee and Webber raised the flag. The Gilford High School marching band played patriotic songs.

A boy scout and a cub scout placed a wreath at the monument.

Selectboard Chair Gus Benevides speech called for all people today to remember the honor, courage, and sacrifice made by the men and women of the military so that America could remain fee.

He made a special note of the WWII men and women, the "Greatest Generation", who went to war to beat back an evil who meant to destroy us.

"This is the epitome of what our brave young men and women have done," Benevides said. "Instead of running, they stood and met the challenge."

Benevides said he hope each person alive today takes a moment to reflect on the deaths in battle of American soldiers and remembers to do one thing that benefits the greater good and not their own self-interest — just as they did.

"One day, the next generation can look back on ours and be proud," he said.

"Never forget the importance of Memorial Day and never forget what price it took for us to achieve so much," said Benevides in closing.

The ceremony ended with the playing of taps.

Belmont Memorial Day speaker covers history & significance of U.S. chaplains

BELMONT — During the Memorial Day ceremony hosted by the Belmont American Legion Post 58, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Mauck, spoke about the importance of chaplains in the military and their role in protecting the nation.

Mauck, a Vietnam veteran and Army chaplain, provided a brief history of chaplains in the military stating that by law there must now be one chaplain for every one hundred thousand members of each denomination fighting in the war. Throughout the history of conflicts involving Americans, new chaplains emerged to new meet the needs of growing denominations, such as the Roman Catholic's in the Mexican War, Jews during the Civil War, and an Muslims in the 1990's. Mauck noted Israel Evans as the first chaplain from New Hampshire who was part of the N.H. militia during the Revolutionary War, who is depicted in a painting in the New Hampshire Stathouse.

Mauck also took a moment to tell the story of the four chaplains from World War II who saved the lives of various soldiers on the USS Dorchester after it was torpedoed by an enemy U-boat. The Jewish, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and United Methodist chaplains distributed all of the life jackets including their own to the soldiers in need, before praying and locking arms before they died. Following the event, individuals pushed to have a chapel built in the Pentagon in their honor, however Mauck stated the Pentagon declined the proposal and instead a monument was built in Durham, N.H. Following 9/11, however, a chapel was built in honor of all the chaplains who have given their time and lives to this nation. In this building there is a memorial to the four chaplains from World War II.

Mauck concluded his address stating that these are just a few examples of how chaplains and service members give their lives for the nation. "We deserve the best," states Mauck, "and we've got it."

Local officers from the Belmont Police Force were joined by the Belmont High School marching band, the local Boy and Girl Scout troops, and the Cub Scouts during the procession toward the memorial where the annual ceremony is held. The annual raising of the flag was performed by Legion members Tyler Best and Harold R. "Rich" Stanely. 

Belmont American Legion Commander Steve Bracy conducted the service, stating that Memorial Day is a sacred day of the year that should be remembered and celebrated by all. He continued by emphasizing the importance of honoring those who have given their lives to defend the country and flag, as well as their dedication to assuring the nation's freedom. Bracy's sentiment was echoed by Pastor Jim Smith who provided the opening prayer honoring all those who have fought and are currently fighting for our nation.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of World War II veterans Herbert A. Prescott, Phillip O. Swain, Ernest B. Piper, Arthur M. Hackett, and Harleig C. Brown; Vietnam veteran, Seven C. Stanty; Korean War veteran, Leo J. Rolfe; and Air Force veteran, John J. Moynihan. Additionally recognized was first responder and former two time American Legion Commander and Financial Officer Leonard B. Hooker,, who passed away this year. Bracy stated that Hooker was always supporting the post, and will be greatly missed.

The ceremony commenced with Bracy thanking the local service members, and high school band members Malia Lundahl and Eric Osgood performed taps during the ceremony. "Way too many men and women have died so that we may have life," said Bracy. "All will know that it was not in vain though as we go forward with their courage and strength."

Gilford vet charged with facilitating underage drinking party

GILFORD — A local veterinarian was charged with facilitating an underage drinking party Sunday at 11:16 p.m. following a complaint of a loud party.

Dr. Brenda Stow of 128 Glidden Drive was released on personal recognizance bail and 18 people, 14 minors and four juveniles were charged with illegal consumption of alcohol — a violation.

A minor is anyone between the ages of 17 and 21 while a juvenile is anyone under the age of 17.

Lt. Kris Kelley said most of those arrested were released to a parent or responsible adult.

Kelley said that as graduation season arrives, parents should talk with their children about drinking, the dangers of driving while intoxicated, and that all should be aware that giving alcohol to a minor is against N.H. law.