Today, we honor our fallen servicemen and women — these patriots served knowing the risks that would lie ahead of them, but they devoted their lives to service because they believed in the strength and opportunity of our great nation.
Granite Staters have a strong tradition of honoring those who have served our country and, this past September, I had the privilege of attending a bridge dedication in honor of one of New Hampshire’s fallen service members, Lance Corporal Dimitrios Gavriel.
Dimitrios, known by his family as “Dimi,” was raised in Atkinson and graduated from Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow. After losing two of his friends to the horrific events of September 11, he told his family he felt called to serve.
Despite a promising career on Wall Street and various old wrestling injuries, he talked his way into joining the Marines. He was deployed to Iraq where he served on the frontlines. He was later killed fighting outside Fallujah at the age of 29.
But Dimi’s legacy was continued by his sister, Christina, who put her career on hold to enlist in the Marines. Her father says this was her way of finishing her brother’s service.
I’m inspired by the story of the Gavriel family. They exhibit what I can only call an American bravery — a bravery motivated by fierce camaraderie, deep empathy, and a bold belief in the principles of our democracy.
By designating a bridge in honor of Dimi, his community showed their lasting gratitude. Though this debt of gratitude is one we can never fully repay, we must strive to honor these heros on Memorial Day, and every day after.