Portsmouth Celebrates Veterans Day At Three Separate Memorials

Nov 11, 2013

Air Force Veteran Martin Cameron at Plains Field Memorial in Portsmouth
Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

On Monday, a sizeable crowd of Veterans, citizens, and a brass band paraded through Portsmouth to the bronze Soldiers and Sailors monument on Islington Street.  At the same time, a smaller group of 26 residents quietly gathered down the street at a World War I memorial.

Plains Field

There, Air Force Veteran Martin Cameron walked over fallen leaves, pointing out grave markers. "This one here," Cameron says, pointing to a marker engraved with the name of Lieutenant Lewis Fingleton, "the body’s never been found. The ship's never been found."

Plains Field Memorial in Portsmouth
Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

Cameron says the 26 World War I grave markers were donated by Portsmouth residents in 1929.  Three times a year, he organizes an event here, to acknowledge the soldiers, doctors, and nurses who left Portsmouth to serve in Europe early last century:

We replaced the flags we put new ones in on Memorial day in May, and we put new ones in for the winter now, and we’ll have a ceremony here on the 10th of December, and that will be putting Christmas wreaths on each marker.

Cameron says the flags and wreaths are supplied by the city of Portsmouth.

Goodwin Park

Back at the culmination of Portsmouth's parade at Goodwin Park, Kittery resident Felix Young Jr. stood with fellow Veterans. Young says he served both in Vietnam and in Iraq.

"Things have improved since when I first joined the military," Young says.  "People seem to appreciate more, what the Veteran, especially the ones of the day, have gone through. The present is better than the past."

Memorial Park

Workers work to finish constructing the new Memorial Park monument late Friday night.
Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

On his way home to Kittery, Young will pass the new Memorial Park, on the Portsmouth side of the Memorial Bridge between New Hampshire and Maine.   The park, which opened just barely in time for Veterans Day, features a fountain made from slabs of granite taken from the old Memorial Bridge.

A ceremony celebrating the new Memorial park will be held at a later date.