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N.H. veterans remember Sept. 11

  • Vietnam veteran Gary Simard, who serves as the New Hampshire Veterans Home resident council’s first vice president, salutes during the playing of taps at the conclusion of the Sept. 11 ceremony Monday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Veterans bow their heads in prayer during the closing of the Sept. 11 ceremony at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • World War II Navy veteran Henry Mathis, 91, listens to the Sept. 11 ceremony at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton on Sept. 11, 2017. Mathis served on the USS Macomb, a destroyer that saw action in both theaters during the war. “€œI saw some stuff,” Mathis said. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Veterans watch a 9/11 video presentation at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Monday, September 11, 2017

The New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton has been holding the same solemn ceremony for fifteen years.

​​​​​​And on Monday, about two dozen veterans filed into the home’s town hall to once again reflect on the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Speakers included representatives from the state’s congressional delegation and National Guard, along with members of the home’s resident council.

“Never forget. Just as we must remember our veterans who have passed before us,” Bill Bertoldt, an Air Force veteran and the president of the home’s resident council, told the crowd.

Lt. Col. Gregory Heilshorn, the New Hampshire National Guard’s director of public affairs, reflected on the decade and a half of warfare that followed the day’s terror attacks.

“We got Hussein. We got Bin Laden. And 16 years later, we’re getting the next generation of terrorists,” he said.

Since the events of 9/11, more than 2,500 New Hampshire guardsmen have deployed into the Middle East, Heilshorn said.

“We are stronger. And we are certainly wiser. We have a greater awareness of who we are and what we stand for,” he said.

Most who attended Monday’s ceremony experienced the events of the day the way a majority of America did – at school, at work or at home, glued to a television set or radio.

But Roger Cabana, who sat in the audience’s front row Monday, was in Manhattan 16 years ago. The Navy veteran was working, doing deliveries at the time, and exited a subway station just a couple miles from the twin towers to see billowing smoke.

Cabana, 71, a Manchester native, said he remembers mostly the confusion and the anxiety from the day.

“What the heck’s going on here?” he recalled thinking. “You got on the subway, and everybody’s suspicious of everybody.”

For Cabana, the events of that day were a “wake-up call” from God.

“We’re not invincible,” he said. “And we should take better care of our people.”

(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321 or lduffort@cmonitor.com.)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Bill Bertoldt’s name.