Celebrating our veterans and peace

Correspondent photo by Susanna HARGREAVES Memorial Park’s Veterans Memorial Walk is a pathway with the names of local veterans inscribed in brick that guides residents past several monuments that honor those who have served our country. Memorial Park is located at the intersection of Main Street and Canal Street.

Mine Falls Park in Nashua is a peaceful place where residents can enjoy the day surrounded by nature. It is a special place to reflect and feel gratitude for those who continue to give so much for our freedom and happiness.

A stone monument rests in the center of the path in Mine Falls near the Whipple Street entrance.

The inscription on the stone reads, “These fields are dedicated in memory of Staff Sergeant Allen H. Soifert USMC of Nashua Killed in Action on October 14, 1983, in Beirut, Lebanon, while serving with the multi-national peace-keeping force. No greater love has a man than this. That he lay down his life for peace. Dedicated September 28, 1986.”

Above the monument, our American flag quietly rests. However, it is surrounded by so much life and abundant energy. Beyond the stone monument are the enthusiastic cheers from parents as their children play on the Soifert Memorial Fields. Runners race down the path, a man walks a happy golden retriever, and a child learns to ride his bike with much encouragement and laughter from his parents.

Just a few miles away, located at the busy intersection of Main Street and Canal Street is Memorial Park.

There, residents can view several monuments that honor those who have served our country. The names of our local veterans are inscribed on a brick pathway named Veterans Memorial Walk, thanks to the efforts of the Veterans

Memorial Walk Committee and many grateful community members on Nov. 11, 1999.

Among the worn bricks are the names of my mother and father, Don and Carol Hallenbeck, and my father in-law, John Hargreaves.

Every Nov. 11, Veterans Day is the day we officially acknowledge and express appreciation to all of the men and women who serve our country in uniform. This year will be the 99th year of the commemoration to remember our servicemen and women.

Aaron Bevilacqua, a local Marine gunnery sergeant who served in Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, said the purpose of Veterans Day is to celebrate peace.

“When you look at these memorials, you see all the names of those who stood up. It is important to remember and reflect about what they have done,” Bevilacqua said. “It is also important to remember it for the future, so it doesn’t happen again. I think service is important, and the bigger aspect of service is the humanitarian efforts and aid provided. Service is about helping and empowering others.”

As the golden leaves fall and the light from the sun peeks through the trees, we can savor the autumn beauty that surrounds us and celebrate being alive.

If you are currently serving our country or are a veteran, thank you for your dedication and sacrifice. May our hope for peace never end.

Susanna Hargreaves is a mother of three enchanting children, an educator, and writer from New Hampshire. For more information, visit: letmetellyourstory.com.