New Hampshire Veterans Day and Its Heroes

Portsmouth Herald front page November 11, 1918

Portsmouth Herald front page November 11, 1918

On November 11 of each year the citizens of New Hampshire, and all of the United States celebrate “Veterans Day.” Originally this day was called Armistice Day, as November 11, 1918 was generally regarded as the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars.” A year later in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making November 11th as the first commemoration of Armistic Day saying “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the herosim of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and becames of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the council of nations…”

Armistice Day 1918, Merrimack NH, soldiers and child in front of War Memorial on Baboosic Lake Road. Photograph Courtsey of Kimberly A. Coutts.

Armistice Day 1919, Merrimack NH, soldiers and child in front of War Memorial on Baboosic Lake Road. Photograph Courtsey of Kimberly A. Coutts.

In 1933 during Armistice Day parades and events, many states including New Hampshire honored the NRA (the National Recovery Act, not the National Rifle Association), an agency established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to promote fair practices in industry.

It was not until May 13, 1938 that Congress passed an act making the 11th of November of each year a legal holiday. The day was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter known as “Armistice Day.” Veterans of World War I were honored on this day.

In 1954, Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans” and on June 1, 1954 November 11th officially became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. On October 8, 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a proclamation where he designated the Administrator of Veteran’s Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee.

Armistice Day, Durham NH Veterans of Foreign Wars in uniform, November 11, 1921, Photograph by Clement Moran, 1921, University of NH Photographs.

Armistice Day, Durham NH Veterans of Foreign Wars in uniform, November 11, 1921, Photograph by Clement Moran, 1921, University of NH Photographs.

In 1968 the holiday was briefly changed to October 25th (through The Uniform Holiday Bill) however, on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the observance of Veterans Day back to its original date of November 11th, beginning in 1978. This was done to preserve the historic significance of the original date. During this time New Hampshire continued to observe the holiday on November 11th, it being the one favored by local veterans groups.

And so since then Veterans Day has been one to celebrate and honor American’s veterans through parades, speeches, and ceremonies. The official government web site states it is a “celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” PARADE TRIVIA: Did you know that in colonials days, soldiers carried their muskets on their left shoulders while today during a parade members carry their rifles on their right.  This is because it was easier and quicker to reload muskets by using the right arm.

SOME HEROES OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire has produced many heroes (male and female) who have served in the United States military during both wartime and peacetime.  Their names could fill many pages in this blog.  For this Veterans Day I will only mention some acts of bravery and courage that occurred within the State of New Hampshire.  All of this information was obtained from a web site called Hall of Valor.

Date: 1917-1918
Who: Rear Admiral Clifford J. Boush (Bousch), USN
Where: Portsmouth Navy Yard
What: Exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility as Commandant of the Navy Yard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire [read more]
Award: Navy Cross
War: World War I

Date: 9 February 1936
Who: Second Lieutenant (Air Corps) James H. Patrick Jr.
Where: Concord, NH to East Brewster MA
What: Extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight [read more]
Award: Distinguished Flying Cross
War: Peace Time Award

Date: 9 February 1936
Who: Corporal Frank B. Connor, US Army Air Corps
Where: Concord, NH to East Brewster MA
What: Extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight [read more]
Award: Distinguished Flying Cross
War: Peace Time Award

Date: 9 February 1936
Who: Staff Sergeant Donald E. Hamilton, US Army Air Corps, 96th Bombardment Squadron
Where: Concord, NH to East Brewster MA
What: Extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight [read more]
Award: Distinguished Flying Cross
War: Peace Time Award

Date: 9 February 1936
Who: Captain [then] Barney McKinney Giles, US Army Air Corps, 20th Bombardment Squadron
Where: Concord, NH to East Brewster MA
What: Extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight [read more]
Award: Distinguished Flying Cross
War: Peace Time Award

Date: 1941-1945
Who: Captain Homer Ambrose, USN
Where: Navy Yard, Portsmouth NH
What: Outstanding services in connection with building 77 submarines [read more]
Award: Legion of Merit

Date: 10 Nov 1944
Who: Motor Machinist’s Mate Second Class George M. Wolf
Where: Portsmouth Harbor off the coast of NH, aboard C.G. 74327
What: Heroism in saving the life of two injured seamen [read more]
Award: Navy and Marine Corps Medal
War: World War II

Date: 22 August 1956
Who: Master Specialist Saverio A. Fiore
Where: Wiers Pier, Lake Wiers, New Hampshire
What: Heroism at the risk of life not involving conflict [read more]
Award: Soldier’s Medal
War: Cold War

Date: 17/18 April 1969
Who: Captain (Infantry) Lewis J. Geneseo, US Army
Where: White Mountains National Forest
What: Heroism at the risk of life not involving conflict [read more]
Award: Soldier’s Medal
War: Vietnam War

Date: 17/18 April 1969
Who: Sergeant Jarles D. Gunn, US Army
Where: White Mountains National Forest
What: Heroism at the risk of life not involving conflict [read more]
Award: Soldier’s Medal
War: Vietnam War

Date: 5 May 1972
Who: Senior Master Sergeant George R. Fischbach
Where: Pease Air Force Base
What: Heroism involving voluntary risk of life [read more]
Award: Airman’s Medal
War: Vietnam War

 

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One Response to New Hampshire Veterans Day and Its Heroes

  1. Pingback: 100 Years Ago: Two Years Before Armistice | Cow Hampshire

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