MANCHESTER — About 60 people came to tree-filled Dellwood Cemetery on Monday to honor those who have given their lives in military service to the nation, including a local man killed on a Pacific island in World War II.
Around 10 a.m. a procession of veterans started marching from near the cemetery's entrance down to the site of the ceremony, a group of local residents following them.
"This is the biggest parade we've had in a long time," one of the veteran participants quipped. The destination was the plot for the Fowler family.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6471 Commander Bruce E. Charbonneau said the ceremony was being held at the grave site of Harvey Klapp Fowler, one of two local men who died in World War II for whom the post was named. Fowler was a private in the 21st regiment of the Third Marine Division.
Don Cherbonneau, post chaplain, offered an opening prayer. "Our heavenly father, in your hands are the living and the dead. We honor and remember our comrades today, who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. May they rest in peace and may your light forever shine upon them," he began. "May all citizens of our nation remember on this day the large cost of freedom that is the giving of one's life for our country."
Fowler was a 1935 graduate of Burr and Burton. On July 22, 1944, he was killed in action in the U.S. invasion of Guam to take it back from the Japanese. He was 28 when he died.
"Harvey Fowler was a machine gunner, serving on the front lines when a shell landed nearby. He went down, unconscious and without regaining consciousness. He passed away painlessly and peacefully a few moments later," Charbonneau said.
His platoon commander wrote Fowler's parents in a condolence letter that said "we will always remember the little fellow with a big heart and a ready grin. The greatest compliment we as Marines can pay to our own: 'Mr. Fowler, he was a good Marine.'"
Quoting Robert E. Lee, Charbonneau said, "It is well that war is so terrible, or we would become fond of it.'" He added, "the danger of not remembering the sacrifices made by these men and women, it is that as a nation we may forget the price of freedom is never cheap."
Those present then paused for a moment of silent reflection for the veterans of the past and for the men and women currently serving around the world. "Finally, we ask for their safe return," Charbonneau said.
Post Adjutant Steve Leach read a poem, titled, "Brothers to the End," written by Dale Sizemore a World War II veteran. "And though this poem is written totally in the male gender, never let us forget the women who have served this country in both war and peace," Leach said.
The poem reads in part: "Together we have served, as Brothers, for over 241 years/We have served our country for ever/ We have served in many unheard of places/When called by our Nation in times of Peace and War./Many of us saw war and had to face the terror of it all/We felt the stinging cold of fear together/We cried, pained and prayed together/We comforted each other as Brothers."
Three riflemen then fired off three volleys, followed by a bugler playing "Taps".
According to VFW Post 6471's website, the other veteran the post is named for is James P. Harned, U.S. Army Air Corps, a 1940 graduate of Burr & Burton, who died on July 1, 1942 from malaria while being held in a prisoner of war camp in the Philippines. He is buried in his family plot in Johnson.
Another Memorial Day Ceremony was held at Factory Point Cemetery at 11 a.m.