Dateline: Aug. 14, 2022
On August 7th, the annual Purple Heart Day, the Town of Allenstown and the Economic Development Committee (EDC) held a ceremony to proclaim Allenstown becoming a Purple Heart Community and to honor our local hometown veterans.
Also present was Marie Grisella, the Purple Heart Community rep. who guided EDC member Rich Caruso through the process of becoming a Purple Heart Community.
The ceremony, organized and led by Rich Caruso, was held in the Allenstown Community Center on Whitten St. and attended by selectmen, EDC members, school board members, residents, and veterans.
A folded American flag, a case of military dog tags, and other memorabilia were placed at a table in the middle of the room by General Don Bolduc. The folded flag is traditionally presented at a military funeral, and precisely folded 13 times. The 72 dog tags were reminders of the men under his command who were lost in battles in Afghanistan. The small statue with boots, rifle, and helmet was a memorial tribute to fallen soldiers.
The ceremony proceeded as follows.
Jennifer Mitchell led in the singing of "God Bless America."
Father Rory Traynor gave the Invocation Prayer.
Rich Caruso led the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of "The National Anthem."
General Don Bolduc, Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), addressed the attendees and spoke of his military service and the significance of the Purple Heart medal. In his 33 year U.S. Army career, he commanded Special Forces in Afghanistan and was Commander of Special Forces Africa. By the end of his career, he had received two awards for valor, five Bronze Star medals, and two Purple Hearts. He has been awarded the Defense Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device and numerous awards from our allies.
Select Board Chairman Scott McDonald read a proclamation from the Select Board acknowledging that Allenstown was now a Purple Heart Community.
The unveiling of the Purple Heart signage revealed that one sign showed that Allenstown was part of the New Hampshire Purple Heart Trail. Two of these signs would be installed at the north and south end of Route 3. The other sign stated that Allenstown was now a Purple Heart Community. Several of these signs would be installed at the local entrances to town. The unveiling was followed by a Moment of Silence.
Allenstown Music Teacher, Michael Kenyon played a stirring rendition of "Taps" on his trumpet.
He then led attendees in the singing of "Amazing Grace."
Father Rory Traynor prayed the Benediction that concluded the ceremony.
Rich Caruso thanked people for coming to the ceremony and invited Marie Grella, representative for the Purple Heart Community Project, to explain how a town could become such a community.
Several attendees posed for a group photo with the new signs. From left to right they are General Don Bolduc, Selectman Sandy McKenney, EDC member Rich Caruso, Selectman Scott McDonald, and Purple Heart Community rep. Marie Grella.
Refreshments were served after the ceremony.
What You Can Do
Drive down School Street and take note of the 10 Hometown Hero Banners that now grace our Avenue of Hometown Heroes. These were sponsored by the families of those veterans.
Also, we have a large National Guard facility just north of us in Concord. When you see a service member in a store or on the street, stop and thank that person for dedicating themselves to protecting our country. We are the land of the free because of the brave.
More About the Purple Heart
To learn more about the origin and evolution of the Purple Heart medal and Purple Heart Day, visit veteran.com.
Photos courtesy of Sandy McKenney, Kris Bellerose, and Michael Frascinella
This story was previously published on allenstown-alt-org
by Michael Frascinella