Eagle Socut project honors those who serveBy APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent September 27. 2012 12:36AM
On Wednesday afternoon, residents and friends gathered inside the high school cafeteria for a moving dedication ceremony unveiling the military memorial crafted by senior Sean Cardwell, a member of Life Scout Troop 109.
Cardwell, who is working toward his Eagle Scout badge, spent a good portion of his summer in the school courtyard, painstakingly arranging five granite pillars, each representing a branch of the Armed Forces, into a semicircle, spreading mulch and laying stone. A sixth pillar lay on its side, completing the half-circle with a short verse honoring those lost.
Plaques placed onto the stones honor three Londonderry High School graduates who've paid the ultimate sacrifice: Air Force 2nd Lt. Peter Sohm, Marine Lance Cpl. Peter J. Sora Jr., and Marine Pvt. 1st Class Eric Currier.
Sohm, a member of Londonderry High School's Class of 2006, was killed in a plane crash while serving on active duty in Texas in April 2011. He was 23 years old.
Sora, known by family and friends as 'P.J.,' joined the Marines in 2003 and died during a training accident in May 2004 while preparing for his first deployment to Iraq. A member of the LHS Class of 2002, he was 19 years old.
Currier, a member of the LHS Class of 2010, died at the age of 21 during a military operation while serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in February 2010.
Friends and family members of the fallen soldiers wiped away tears during Wednesday's ceremony. A visibly moved Russell Currier said he was touched when he learned Cardwell was devoting a monument to his son's memory.
'He's a really great kid,' said Currier. 'I really don't know how he found the time to do all this with all the things he's got going on.'
Cardwell said there really aren't enough words to describe why he chose the monument as his Eagle Scout project, though he hopes his classmates will pick up on his new habit of stopping by the courtyard daily to remember and to reflect.
'Each person who gives their lives ... they need to be honored individually,' he said, adding that he'd prefer the focus remain on the departed soldiers rather than him.
'It's really been quite a journey,' Cardwell said.
Superintendent Nathan Greenberg said he believes the monument will inspire future generations of Lancers to contemplate the true meaning of honor and sacrifice.
'Every student that walks through our doors is encouraged to contribute something unique,' Principal Jason Parent said. 'Sean has truly left his mark. This monument will be part of the school's landscape forever.'
For Assistant Principal Art Psaledas, there were few words.
'This project has hit me on a very emotional level,' he said.
Retired Marine Col. Gerard Boyle, Scoutmaster of the National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) program, urged all to follow Cardwell's example.
'Everybody at this school learns about civics, about what it means to be an American, about responsibility,' said Boyle. 'So does Sean Cardwell. He understands duty to country and duty to others.'
'There are three names on this monument today,' he said. 'But unfortunately, there will be many more.'
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April Guilmet may be reached at AGuilmet@newstote.com.