Solemn addition made to Hampton war monument
By MAX SULLIVAN | Portsmouth Herald, N.H. (TNS) | Published: September 12, 2017
HAMPTON — Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. David Whitcher's name was added to Hampton's Global War on Terrorism memorial monument Monday in American Legion Post 35's annual ceremony honoring service members lost since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Whitcher, 31, of Bradford, was the 67th person to have their name added to the memorial since it was unveiled in 2006. He died Nov. 2, 2016, during a dive training exercise off the coast of Key West, Florida.
Whitcher's family attended the ceremony at the Legion post at 69 High St. to watch the monument unveiled with his name newly engraved in its stone. Gov. Chris Sununu also attended, New Hampshire's governor having consistently appeared at the ceremonies since they began in 2006.
Whitcher's mother, Kathleen, said she appreciated her son being honored Monday. She said her son was a "very private man, very shy," but ambitious, having done "more in 30 years than most men did in 50."
"He was a go-getter," said Kathleen Whitcher of her son after the ceremony. "It's very humbling... it's good that they all have the ability to honor every parent who loses their son or their husband."
Police blocked off the portion of High Street in front of the American Legion so attendees could stand in the street to watch the ceremony. The Seacoast Marine Corps League provided a firing squad to honor the lost service members, and Post 35's bugle player Mark Weatherby performed Taps. Natalie Healy, whose son Dan Healy was a Navy Seal killed in 2005 during Operation Red Wing in Afghanistan, also spoke.
Speakers touched on a need for Americans to keep the memory of the Sept. 11 attacks fresh in their minds as years pass by. Post 35 Commander Berkley Bennett noted that many young people have little or no recollection of the day the attacks occurred.
Sununu said the extra amount of effort put into ceremonies on the attacks' fifth, 10th and 15th anniversaries has left him under the impression the day is given unfairly less attention on the years in between. He specifically recalled seeing footage of the attacks' 10th anniversary, "a grandiose affair" that left him "a little aggravated."
"I probably shouldn't say that, but it did. I said, 'Why is it every five or 10 years we finally remind ourselves what an important day that was?'" said Sununu. "It's one day a year we talk about 9/11. It should be a lot more common than that because it has affected so many lives. It affects our lives today."
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