Salute to N.H. veterans past, present
By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt, 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 06, 2012
BOSCAWEN, N.H. -- -- Citizens gathered in Boscawen Nov. 11 at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery for a Veterans Day event to express their gratitude toward a small percentage of Americans that have taken an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States.
"The 1 percent protect the 99 percent," said U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte during her remarks. "The American veteran has done more than any other person or any other group in the world for the cause of freedom. We thank that 1 percent for making the 99 percent of us safe."
Maj. Gen. William N. Reddel III, The Adjutant General, State of New Hampshire, reminded the hundreds attending the annual event that there are New Hampshire citizen soldiers currently deployed or preparing to deploy around the world.
"There are 27 citizen soldiers that are currently deployed," said Reddel. "Right now the 169th Medevac unit is down at Fort Hood preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, which they will do in about two weeks. There are also 120 citizen soldiers that are ready to deploy to Afghanistan in February with the 237th Military Police Company."
In addition, he spoke about the 125,000 veterans in New Hampshire and the 10,000 citizen soldiers that could be called to duty.
"It's why I'm wearing this uniform today," said Reddel who was dressed in his airman battle uniform. "Because this is the uniform they go to war in. War has become background noise, but not to our veterans, not to those who serve. We wear this uniform for you."
Also speaking at the event was retired U.S. Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Al Baldasaro, who is an Operation Desert Storm veteran and has a son serving in the military today.
"We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude that we can never pay," said Baldasaro. "We do this by keeping the memory alive of those who have fallen and by taking care of veterans in their time of need."
He went on to advocate for New Hampshire companies to hire veterans and help them after service to their nation.
"Veterans don't ask for much, said Baldasaro. "We must remember that our heroes who wear the uniform were sent on a mission to protect freedom."
Also on hand to celebrate the sacrifice of veterans were Gov. John Lynch, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Representatives Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass.
"Thank you for allowing us to live in freedom," said Lynch. "We can never repay the debt we owe you."