Memorial Day: A Community Message | New England College

Memorial Day: A Community Message

May 24, 2024
American flag

Dear Friends,

I write to you today in honor of Memorial Day. If you are like me, you’ve already seen the advertisements for retail sales, barbeques, and the official start of summer. Those are all wonderful things, to be certain. But, while we enjoy a long weekend with friends and family, I ask that you take a moment to give some thought to the reason for the day.

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day to honor union soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. In the years that followed, it was expanded to include all service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States. In 1971, Congress officially declared Memorial Day a national holiday in place of Decoration Day and declared the day one of reflection and support for all members of the United States military lost while in service to their Country.

At New England College, the service and sacrifice of our veterans is part of our origin story. As you know, we were founded for veterans returning from World War II. I’m very proud that our connection to active-duty military, first responders, and veterans and their dependents extends to this very day. Sadly, among our graduates are those who we will honor on Memorial Day—women and men who gave their lives in service to our country. Perhaps most well known is the honor we bestow each year—The William Troy Award—which is given on behalf of a former NEC student. Troy, a native of Concord, New Hampshire, was killed in action while trying to render aid to a fallen comrade. You can learn more about William Troy here: William Troy Award | New England College (

Over the next few days, there will be great celebrations. Here in Henniker, we will have our annual parade with baseball and softball teams, kids and adults from town, members of our local police and fire department, and an array of veterans—many in uniforms or caps indicating their service, their wars, and their sacrifice. Enjoy the fun. Give a moment of thought and thanks that there are those among us who will don our nation’s uniform and commit to going into harm’s way that we may be free. Remember: All gave some; some gave all.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


Dr. Wayne F. Lesperance Jr.
New England College

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