In a Unique Way Litchfield Youngsters Honor Those Who Served
November 17, 2017
by David S. Morin
On Veterans Day, while the nation paid homage to those in the Armed Forces and served our country, three young Litchfield boys quietly honored the veterans buried in the Hills Memorial Cemetery. The boys’ tribute didn’t include marching bands, parades or speeches just rakes, their bare hands and hard work.
The Marcotte brothers, Noah, 11, Brady, 9, and Jackson, 5, made their first visit to the cemetery on Veterans Day four years ago. The idea to remember the veterans who had passed came after a trip to the Hudson Police Station with cupcakes to thank the officers. The boys’ father, Alan, asked the two oldest boys if they had any ideas of how they could help in the community. Their answer was the veterans. Noah said, we chose to honor veterans for what they’ve done for our country and for the freedoms they protect.
The Marcotte family has a long history serving in the Armed Forces. The boys’ grandfather, aunt and uncle all served their country. Family members continue to serve in their hometowns; their grandfather, a well-known Hudson teacher and deacon at St. Kathryn Church, an aunt and uncle serve as firefighters and their dad is a Hudson Police Officer.
Every Veterans Day the boys have donned heavy coats, hats and gloves and with rakes in hand along with their dad travel to the cemetery. On all four occasions they have completed their task the weather has been raining or cold with high winds. Brady said they don’t mind the weather as they think of the kind of weather the soldiers served in completing their duties. They did it so we can stand the weather while we work in the cemetery.
The boys rake the leaves from the graves and give a general cleanup to the area. If they find a grave that has dirt and grass growing over the stone they carefully remove the debris and clean the stone so the name can be read. Once the area has been cleared of leaves, any flowers or mementos that they found at the gravesite are placed exactly back to where they found it. As they work if they come upon a grave of the soldier without a flag they will leave one in place marking a veteran’s final resting place.
Not only are the boys honoring those who served but also they learn something of these men and women and get an insight to the history of our nation’s past. They all are war history buffs particularly the Civil War. They have visited the battlefields of Gettysburg, Bull Run and other battle sites such as Fort Wellington and Yorktown.
During their visits at the cemetery they’ve come across many graves; a few stand out such as the soldier who died in the Civil War during the battle at Fort Wagner. At another grave the soldier served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. But the Civil War soldiers spark their interest the most. Jackson the youngest of the group spoke of a stone that he worked on was of a soldier of the colored regiment.
Each year they find a stone of a military person they missed in the past. They get to work to clear the marker and read the name and when they served. Some of the stones are so old they have been weathered over time, making it difficult. But they know the person served and they do their best to make sure the person and their dedication to the country is recognized.
Their mother and father are very proud of the boys that they have chosen this way to honor those who served, and continue to do so each year. The boys all said that they feel good after they completed their day at the cemetery and hope in the future other kids will continue in the same manner to honor our soldiers.