Portsmouth honors Veterans Day (update)

The Portsmouth Town Council chamber was filled to capacity this morning as members of American Legion Post and Unit 18, joined by neighbors and visiting political figures, paused to pay tribute to those who have served our country, with a special emphasis this year on raising awareness around Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Following a color guard ceremony by members of Cub Scout Pack 50, guest speaker Steve Frye of Battle Buddies, which provides service dogs to disabled veterans, recounted his experience with PTSD following his tours of duty in Iraq. He was joined by his companion dog named in honor of the late Sgt. Michael F. Paranzino.

Afterward, attendees regrouped at the memorial outside Town Hall for a wreath-laying ceremony. Congressman David Cicilline offered a few words. Speaking to the veterans in attendance and across America, he said, "We thank you on behalf of a grateful nation." He went on to stress the importance of honoring veterans after they return from service. "It's also important that we honor them in deeds," he said, "Including health care, housing, and mental health. We need to continue to honor their service."

In addition to Rep. Cicilline, State. Sen. Chris Ottiano, Town Councilors Keith Hamilton and Jim Seveney, former State. Sen. Chuck Levesque, and former Town Council President Peter McIntyre also attended.

Thank you to all the men and women of our Armed Forces, and their families for the sacrifices they, too, make on our behalf. And thank you to all the support professionals who help our veterans — on this day, especially the mental health professionals at the VA.

Update: Portsmouth Patch has more details, pictures, and a video clip.