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Ray Duckler

Ray Duckler: Eight, in this case, was more than enough

Elton Warriner, 79, of Warner, served in the United States Army in Germany during the mid-late 1950's. He was photographed at his home on Friday, November 8, 2013.

(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Elton Warriner, 79, of Warner, served in the United States Army in Germany during the mid-late 1950's. He was photographed at his home on Friday, November 8, 2013. (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

More than six decades ago, with war raging in Korea, 17-year-old Elton Warriner wanted to join the Marines.

His parents, though, insisted he stay in Dunbarton, on the family farm. Milk the cows, they told him. Pick the vegetables.

Anything but fight in a war.

And who could blame Molly and Walter Warriner for being protective and not signing the paperwork, allowing Elton to become a Marine?

Five of their sons had already served during World War II, in the jungles of the Philippines and the hedgerows of France and the skies over Europe.

War?

Again?

“Mom and Dad had had enough worries and worrying by that time,” says Warriner, a 79-year-old retired carpenter now living in Warner. “Sometimes they went months without letters from their kids during the war.”

All five came home. Jack and Elton later served in the Army, during the height of the Cold War, and Lawrence, the youngest brother, went into the Navy right after high school.

That’s why today, Veterans Day, is so important to Elton. He’s the last survivor among the eight brothers who served.

With a memorial booklet filled with black-and-white photos acting as a touching reminder and nudging him forward, Elton paid for an ad in today’s Monitor, a tribute to a family wrapped in an American flag.

The booklet, created by Elton’s niece, Laurie Duff of Sandown, shows the battling brothers, crisp in their various military uniforms, smiling, innocent, young.

“The older I get, I realize there is so much history in the family, and it keeps on dying,” said Duff, whose late father, Lawrence, enlisted in the Navy after high school. “I wanted something simple, some new bits and pieces, and I had some pictures and I gathered more from here and there and put it together.”

Molly and Walter had 12 kids in all; Elton and 92-year-old Blanch Hallinan, now of Concord, are the only ones left.

They grew up on a farm, where they were virtually self-contained. They had their own milk, butter, eggs, meat and vegetables, with no need for a grocery store. Flour was bought, but that’s about it.

They played baseball in the fields on summer nights. Like a Rockwell painting or a scene from The Waltons, dinners were not merely a meal, but rather an event each night, led by a selfless matriarch, the quiet backbone who somehow made everything work.

“Mom put out a good meal every night,” Elton said. “ She never really sat down during dinners. She just nibbled and made sure we ate.”

When a son or daughter married, they never moved far. Duff, the youngest of 26 grandchildren, remembers.

“Growing up, I was at the farm for Sunday dinners there,” she said. “My dad would always tell stories. He was the only one that went into the Navy, so he’d tell us how important the Navy was.”

Five others went into the Army, two into the Army Air Corps. As Elton said, “They were dedicated. It was a time when you went and did your thing.”

Elton’s photos tell a story. They are black-and-white, some creased, some grainy, others sharp.

There’s an M42 tank, with twin 40 mm guns on a rotating turret, used as anti-aircraft weaponry.

There’s Robert in buttoned Army jacket, hands clasped in front of him, who fought the Japanese and rarely spoke about what he endured.

There’s George, kneeling in his airman uniform, the brother who later worked at Rumford Press.

There’s Wayne, the brother who served in the Pacific, with the occupation forces in Japan, pictured in front of the farm’s kitchen window, a wide leather belt wrapped around his Army jacket.

And there’s Elton and Lawrence, posing in the family’s living room, sometime in the 1950s. Elton was stationed in Germany, at a time when the Soviet Union’s power and presence could be felt throughout Europe.

He served two years in the regular Army and four more years in the Army Reserve. His olive drab jacket, called an Ike Jacket, in reference to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, is cut short, ending at the waist.

His jacket still fits nicely, thanks to a workout that includes daily 4-mile walks.

He is the last of the Warriner veterans, and today is the time to reflect on what these brothers did, the sacrifices they made.

The book made by Duff, her gift to her uncle, reads at the end of it: “Eight Warriner boys served our country and eight returned. They had families and worked hard their whole lives. We are grateful and blessed to have been part of their lives and to be loved by this incredible family of Molly and Walter Warriner.”

“It’s a great tribute,” Elton said.

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

Legacy Comments5

Ray, Thank you for a poignant glimpse into our families contribution in service of this country. These were our Heroes. Jeff

You write: " Elton paid for an ad in today’s Monitor, a tribute to a family wrapped in an American flag." Seriously???? The Concord Monitor allowed a veteran to "pay" for an ad. I would surmise that this family of Warriner veterans already paid enough. Does the Monitor need the payment more than this family deserves the honor??

Mr. Ray, Thank you for portraying my Dad as he is and was. He is the Man I hope to be when I reach his age. His Brother's and Sister's were all very special in our lives growing up. Their memories will always be remembered. Regards, Elton G. Warriner

So " Elton paid for an ad in today’s Monitor, a tribute to a family wrapped* in an American flag. " on the top of page A6 I see of the left of this 2-page spread. Thanks for the info Ray, and especially for that "wrapped" word, but a little bit "warped" when all these Vets just "Think" about those days of what they fought for in the past tense, but turn around, as in to make such of the red, white and blue nothing but like a rag to the car of to wash off the dirt and then dry it, but never to find out of where the dirt came from. They allow hypocrisy to stand in the governor's office of they take the pledge, but then just moments later of when told to do their job that they supposedly did "make and subscribe" an oath to honor by Article 84, they did not and do not intend to DO what they just spoke, of giving "lip service" is like dancing on the graves of those who fought for these rights! To that of the mediocre of to "Let it Be" I find disgusting from former fighters who allow this to happen. To let the Article 51 commander-in-chief to do only SOME parts but not for ALL of to be Article 14 "complete". http://www.nh.gov/constitution/governor.html "The governor. . . shall be commander-in-chief . . . ; to execute the laws of the state and of the United States; . . . to be exercised agreeably to the rules and regulations of the constitution and the laws of the land. " So why no execution of Section 2 in the 14th Amendment against one of the two legally elected Federal Reps. to be THE one and ONLY Federal Representative, since N.H. is one of the eleven (11) states that of we do not elect our "Judicial officers" and so the representation in Congress SHALL be reduced. Of to face the penalty for too many M.O.C.'s. Does Elton watch football? re: the 10-yard penalty for too many players on the field; and so why not when too many Members of Congress?

Thank you Veterans.

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