Honoring Salem Veterans and Focusing on Student Trip to Capital

November 21, 2014

by S. Aaron Shamshoyan

Gathering in the rightfully named Veterans Memorial Common, Salem residents came together to remember, honor, and thank those who have served the country and protected its freedom.

The Veterans Day memorial featured guest speaker Cadet Lt. Col. Daniel Poucher, unit commander of Salem High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC.

Poucher spoke on the history of Veterans Day and the importance of preserving the tradition of honoring vets.

“Originally Armistice Day was a day set aside to honor soldiers who had served in World War One,” he said, adding in 1952 the name was changed to Veterans Day.

“The 38th congress was urged to scratch the word ‘armistice’ and replace it with veterans,” Poucher said.

In 1954, Dwight Eisenhower declared Veterans Day a national holiday in the country.

“It is our duty as Americans to defend our great country against our attackers but also recognize how much strength and bravery our defenders demonstrate,” Poucher said.  “It is us as Americans that must uphold our recognition of our veterans.”

As a cadet, Poucher has worked with many local veterans groups in the community for a number of reasons.  This work has given him a deep respect for their service both on and off the battlefield.

Poucher said he spent a lot of time on Grant Field while the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall was on the grounds, and saw countless hours of volunteer service by vets.

“They say Rome wasn’t built in a day; well, Rome wasn’t built by American veterans,” he said about the speed in which the wall was constructed once escorted to the field.  “I’ve truly recognized how genuine these men and women are.”

Selectmen’s Chairman Pat Hargreaves, who drove the initiative to bring the traveling Vietnam Memorial wall to Salem, spoke on a new initiative to send JROTC students to Washington, D.C.

“We need to send the best of the best of Salem High School and that Salem, New Hampshire, has to offer, the Junior ROTC, to Washington, D.C.,” he said.

Hargreaves said it would take $30,000 to fund the trip for 50 students to the nation’s capital.  He is currently working to raise the funds for the March trip.