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At N.H. State Veterans Cemetery, a Somber Ceremony and Joyful Reunion

 

Hundreds of veterans, their families, and state officials gathered on Monday under a gray sky for a ceremony at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen. The annual event included remarks from veteran's affairs officials, Gov. Chris Sununu, and all four members of New Hampshire's congressional delegation.

Sen. Maggie Hassan thanked veterans and current members of the military for their service.

"[It] has spanned across generations, across nations, and across battlefields," she said. "Service that has been given throughout our history on behalf of every single one of us, so that we could all live lives safe, secure and free.”

Robert Davis stood with members of his batallion on top of the hill, wearing a U.S. Army hat with “Vietnam Veteran” emblazoned in red.

“I was in Vietnam and four days later I was back to work in Benson Auto in Franklin,” he remembers. “It was very strange. When we came back, we were not treated very nice.”

 

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Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR
Robert Davis, a Vietnam veteran, with his sister Diane Belloir.

Davis, whose six brothers all served in the military, says he’s watched attitudes towards veterans improve over the years.

 “It was a different world back then. But veterans today are treated very good.”

Sporting a leather jacket emblazoned with Marine symbols, veteran Ron Menard caught the eye of a man walking into the veteran’s chapel with a Manchester American Legion hat. 

“You look familiar," Menard calls out. "Were you in the National Guard in Milford?” The two men hadn’t seen each other in over thirty years.

Menard says coming here annually helps him feel part of a community:

“It helps me to remember where I came from. Sometimes that gets kinda foggy. Coming here and listening to all this - some people would call it patriotic hoopla but I think it's just good old fashioned Americanism.”

Menard says for him that Americanism is about “living together in this great country, taking care of each other, and doing whatever we can to help each other.”