Lebanon honors soldiers who never made it home

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LEBANON, NH (WCAX) – A decade-long Memorial Day tradition continued in Lebanon on Monday.

American Legion drivers on two wheels, vintage cars in four, active soldiers and women walking, and ordinary civilians watching nearby. The Lebanon Memorial Day parade again filled the streets of the city.

“Make sure they are remembered. We’ll remember, “said Tom Wiley of American Legion Post 22.

It rained steadily as members of the American Legion and Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and first responders lined up for the annual event. The rain continued at the first stop on the route, where wreaths were thrown into the water to honor the naval personnel who had never made it home.

“We do this rain or shine. Of course we couldn’t do that last year because of COVID. But we come out to make sure we have appropriate respect for those who have served, ”Wiley said. It’s a day to be remembered and recognized for all soldiers who have served.

“When I came back from Afghanistan, the world wasn’t what I imagined it would be,” said PJ Swain.

Swain served in the army for 20 years. He says he’s still grappling with the traumas of war. For him, it’s all about respect that day.

“The respect of the fallen brothers and sisters who have gone before me. So I’m doing this to honor her, ”Swain said.

“I don’t like it when people say have a nice memorial day. It’s not a happy day. It’s a day of remembrance, ”said Bernadette Hoisington of Grantham.

As the sound of taps filled the air, the spectators lined the sidewalks despite the drizzle.

“I think that means people are still taking care of it. People still care about our veterans. People still care about those who never got home, ”Hoisington said.

“It’s special because our country has sacrificed a lot,” said Tanner Lahaye.

Lahaye’s uncle is a veteran. The 6th grade student shared a simple message on this memorial day. “Thanks and it means a lot,” he said.

The parade ended in Colburn Park with a series of speeches and prayers. The planned events were not shortened at all due to the weather. In fact, the rain felt almost symbolic of the sober nature of the monument.

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