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Governor, lawmakers thank veterans

Sunday News Correspondent

November 12. 2017 12:46AM
Gov. Chris Sununu, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster stand for the Pledge of Allegiance during a Veterans Day observance Friday at the New Hampshire Veterans Home. (John Koziol/Sunday News Correspondent)

TILTON - Gov. Chris Sununu, joined by half the state's congressional delegation and a quorum of the Executive Council, gathered Friday at the New Hampshire Veterans Home to offer a heartfelt "thank you" to the residents there and to all who have served in America's armed forces.

Sununu, who began his remarks by wishing the Marine Corps a happy 242nd birthday, said the service of veterans should be remembered every day.

"It's not just remembering, it's the act of remembering," said Sununu, who proclaimed Saturday, Nov. 11, as Veterans Day in New Hampshire.

"It's an absolute honor to be here today," said Sununu, who was followed on the podium by Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Rep. Ann Kuster, D-N.H.

Later, representatives of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., shared their bosses' good wishes with the veterans as well as their regrets for not being able to attend in person.

Everyone on the dais was there to express their "profound gratitude" to all who have served, said Hassan, adding that the veterans' service has made the nation the "strongest country on Earth and the greatest force for good on Earth."

While veterans provide the freedom we all enjoy, "It's our job to make sure the United States of America lives up to the values you served to protect," the senator said.

Veterans have fought on behalf of all Americans, she said, and did so united.

Kuster spoke of the challenges and promise of providing in-state medical care for every New Hampshire veteran who needs it.

Marine and state Sen. Bob Giuda, R-Warren, offered a different kind of address, urging the veterans to "reach out to the men and women coming home" from military service overseas.

Giuda noted that 22 veterans a day commit suicide.

Ryan Flynn, a student at the nearby Tilton School, said in reflecting upon "What does Veterans Day mean to me?" that he came across a recent article about a young woman in Raqqa, Syria, who, after the ISIS terrorist group seized control there, joined the resistance.

The woman, who had been a student, returned to Raqqa after it fell, Flynn said, but she quickly realized that it was so damaged by war that she could never stay there.

Thanks to America's veterans, Flynn said, it is impossible to conceive of such a situation in the United States.

In his benediction, Joseph DiChiaro, a U.S. Air Force veteran and pastor emeritus of Calvary Fellowship in Londonderry, said people have "more faith in Google than in God today."

He called for a return to national unity and the "godly principles" upon which he said the United States was founded and upon which the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are based.

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