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While We Slept

Honoring and Remembering

Jay shares thoughts on the meaning of Memorial Day at the Marine Memorial in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.

This weekend, we mark the unofficial beginning of summer across the United States with Memorial Day. It’s an incredibly joyous time, generally met with gatherings, warmer weather, barbecues, laughs, and travel. And while we celebrate with friends and family, it’s also a weekend of tribute, where each of us as Americans are called to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation.

Sometimes amidst all the activity, it’s easy to forget the reason for the extended weekend. It’s a sobering holiday in some ways. Memorial Day is not Veterans Day. It is on Memorial Day, this solemn occasion – when we set aside time to remember and honor all those who have sacrificed their lives to preserve the freedom that we all enjoy and hold so very dear.

A poignant reminder of the immense price of freedom - as so many have paid with their lives in order for us to enjoy the kinds of festivities that we will enjoy this weekend. We should also be grateful that ‘while we slept’ last night there were tens of thousands of American service men and women around the world in distant locations – protecting our freedom.

At the same time, Memorial Day offers us a unique opportunity to better understand our own relationship to sacrifice and service. It stands to recognize the staggering toll of men and women of all creeds and colors who have laid down their lives in the name of our United States of America. We honor those brave Americans who have fought for our nation’s ideals and given their lives in the effort. While Memorial Day may be just that, a single day, we enjoy our unique freedoms 365 days out of the year. This holiday places a responsibility on each of our shoulders, beyond this weekend, to honor the legacies of those who carry the heaviest burden for the preservation of our freedoms.

Before Memorial Day became a federal holiday, it was primarily observed by the unique few who fought for our country and the families of those who had fallen. Yet when it became federalized in 1971, it put military service and its relationship to our liberties we tend to take for granted, into the spotlight. It demonstrated to us as a nation that there is in fact a cost much more profound than a monetary one when it comes to safeguarding the things we love and cherish. And so this Memorial Day, I appeal to anyone who reads this week’s Sunshine Report to not only observe this sacred holiday, but use it to renew your own commitment throughout the whole of the year to never taking for granted the freedoms we hold dear, and for which so many have sacrificed.

Remembering Joseph Rozmus of Manchester - Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941… “A day that will live in infamy.” The memorable words of President Franklin Roosevelt regarding the attack on Pearl Harbor. The devastation inflicted on our Western Naval Fleet in the harbor on the island of Oahu, took the lives of 2,403 servicemen. Among the ships destroyed in the attack eighty-one years ago this December, was the USS Arizona. Included in the 1,777 who died onboard, was Manchester, New Hampshire resident Joseph Rozmus.

Joseph grew up on Cedar Street and graduated from Central High School in 1939. The basketball and football athlete for the Little Green enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 21. After being in the navy a little more than a year, Joseph Rozmus was promoted to Seaman First Class. Just one month later he lost his life in the attack on Pearl Harbor and his body remains forever entombed in the USS Arizona in Honolulu.

One of things I learned about Seaman First Class Joseph Rozmus, was what he wrote under his photo in his senior yearbook. “Tis more painful to do nothing than something.” What a powerful quote and it strengthens my commitment this Memorial Day to participate in one of the many moving Memorial Day activities across the Granite State. Here are just a few:

  • The Bedford Parade begins at 1pm with participants departing from the High School and marching to McKelvie Middle School.

  • Henniker’s parade kicks off at the Cogswell Memorial School at 10am and ends up at the Angela Robinson Bandstand. Following the parade there will be a chicken barbecue fundraiser as well as free ice cream for kids at Community Park.

  • In Kingston, members of the community start their parade at 1pm at the Town Hall and conclude at the Greenwood Cemetery where a moment of silence and Memorial Day observance will take place.

  • And at 11am the New Hampshire Veterans’ Cemetery will host its annual Memorial Day Ceremonies in Boscawen.

A quick online search produced over a dozen Memorial Day activities taking place, and I invite you to share on my social media pages other such events.

I know I will be attending one of these parades as well as visiting the Marine Memorial at Hampton Beach to pay my respects and give my thanks to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom.

New Hampshire Supports Children of Fallen Patriots

Memorial Day weekend is a time that calls for reflection - not only for those who made the ultimate sacrifice but also for their families. When Karen and I first became aware of Children of Fallen Patriots, we knew we had to help on the grassroots level.

As many of you may know, the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation is a wonderful organization – committed to making sure that every child who loses a parent in active military service can receive a college education or go to vocational school – whatever will give that child the best chance for success. Nationally, Fallen Patriots has now helped nearly two thousand such children.

To further advance this important mission, several years ago, Karen and I started an offshoot of the foundation called “New Hampshire Supports the Children of Fallen Patriots.” We started by asking many like-minded organizations, such as the American Legion and Daughters of the American Revolution for help in gaining visibility for the effort and especially in identifying the families of these fallen patriots as potential recipients.

Karen and I have put our hearts and souls into helping this important cause and have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and the momentum that has been achieved. It has grown to the point where it is now a statewide recognized organization Co-chaired by two leading veterans in our State - David Tille, Director of Veteran Services at Harbor Care; and Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Safety, Eddie Edwards.

Every November, we host a New Hampshire contingent at the national gala for the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation in Greenwich, Connecticut where our Granite State efforts are recognized. In addition, every fall in New Hampshire we host our own reception and present an award in honor of former Ambassador Joseph and Augusta Petrone to those who have helped lead the way in supporting our veterans, our fallen heroes, and their families.

What’s really important – and what truly sets this organization apart - is that ninety-eight cents of every dollar goes directly to support the educational costs for these deserving children. If you’d like to find out more, please visit: And, if you wish to make a donation, please make your check out to: “Children of Fallen Patriots” and send to: New Hampshire Supports the Children of Fallen Patriots, at 4 Park St, Concord, NH 03301. Karen and I thank you so much for giving these young people the opportunity to follow their dreams!

Positive Profile of the Week: Bob Guida

This week we are delighted to highlight a selfless public servant – a true leader who has dedicated the greater part of his life in service to our country – Senator Bob Guida.

Bob Giuda of Warren, NH graduated from Pittsfield, NH High School and from there won an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. Upon graduation he became an officer in the Marine Corps where he was decorated for his service. After leaving the Marines, Bob then joined the FBI where he combined his love of flying and a passion for service by focusing on working to investigate and combat international drug cartels.

After leaving the FBI, Bob flew Boeing 777’s for over 30 years for United Airlines while reigniting his calling for community and being elected to local office several times and then to Concord as a State Representative, attaining the position of Deputy Majority Leader. Building upon his successful public service, he took another step up and won a seat in the New Hampshire State Senate.

In politics, Bob has fought vigorously for our veterans and is not known to shy away from his positions. If people want to know what he thinks, he speaks plainly and directly to the point. This direct nature is what has made him a force to be reckoned with and known far and wide as a political leader ‘who gets things done.’ We thank Bob for his tireless efforts and his selfless dedication to our state and to our country!

Quotes of the Week: Honoring and Remembering

"For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue." –James A. Garfield

"And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me." –Lee Greenwood

"This nation will remain the land of the free only as long as it is home of the brave." –Elmer Davis

"This is the day we pay homage to all those who didn't come home. This is not Veterans Day, it's not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom." –Tamra Bolton, in Parade essay

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived." –George S. Patton


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