The Nevins Adult Community Clubhouse was filled with veterans and their families for a Memorial Day ceremony honoring the dead of all United States wars and conflicts, and paying tribute to Nevins residents who were veterans and who died in the past year.
Featured speaker at the Sunday, May 26 ceremony was Major General William N. Reddel III, Adjutant General of the New Hampshire National Guard. “What I usually do right off the bat is I thank the family members,” he told the group. “Because without your support we couldn’t wear this uniform, and I can’t thank you enough for standing behind either your husband, wife, son, daughter whoever it may be. We need that support.
The families are the heroes that stay at home because they have to take care of everything while we’re gone.” Reddel said New Hampshire is one of few states that celebrates Memorial Day on the designed date. “Why do we do that? Well, as you’ve seen throughout the years, the meaning gets diluted because of all the sales and the start of the summer. It’s the commercialization of those two holidays (including Veterans Day), which is kind of sad in my eyes because we don’t need that stuff. We need people to remember why we’re in uniform.”
Reddel said seven-tenths of 1 percent of the American population is in uniform.
He quoted George Washington, who said in 1789, “the willingness with which our young people are to serve in any war no matter how justified (I think you know that we in the military don’t justify wars, it’s the civilians that are in charge of the military that justify wars) shall be directly proportional to the way they see veterans of earlier wars are treated and appreciated and respected by this country.”
Reddel compared Washington’s time of an all-volunteer force fighting against the strongest military in the world to today’s all-volunteer force that is the strongest military in the world.
“If you look back since the Revolutionary War, over a million Americans have been killed in action,” he continued. “That’s a pretty high number, but I tell you and I think you know that once a warrior – always a warrior.”
He said he shows a video called “I Fought For You,” in which soldiers and veterans say, “I fought for you and I’d do it again.” He said he expected all the veterans in the audience would concur, and many of them nodded in affirmation.
“That’s why we have to keep remembering, we owe it to their memory, to their families and to the next generation that’s coming behind us,” Riddel said. Master of Ceremonies Sergeant First Class William Graser (retired), a resident of Nevins who organizes Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, read the names of veterans who lived at Nevins and had died since 2011. Carl Tomanelli sounded a hand bell in their honor. After a benediction by Chaplain James Covitis, the ceremony moved outside for the traditional three rifle shots and the playing of “Taps” softly in the distance.