To the editor:
Earlier this month, my wife Robin and I had cause to travel to one of God’s gifts to America; Conway, N.H. What a memorable event!
The reason for the trip was an invitation from retired Marine Corps Major state Rep. Frank McCarthy (R-Conway) and his lovely and gracious wife Terry.
Rep. McCarthy had asked the Speaker of the House, Sean Jasper, for permission to read into the House record an account of an action nine young men were involved in some 50 years ago in Vietnam. He wished to ask the House for a decree of unanimous consent, paying tribute to the men, four of whom are alive today. I was one of the nine.
Normally, this would take place late in the day, at the end of state business. Not wishing us to sit in the gallery all afternoon, Rep. McCarthy asked for a change of rules, to allow this to take place at mid-day. Thanks to the help of majority leader Richard Hinch and Speaker Jasper, his request was granted.
To hear Maj. McCarthy’s moving replay of that tragic day’s events was a deeply emotional experience. It was quite obvious it made an impact on the house membership when, upon Frank’s conclusion, the entire House stood up, turned to myself and Ron Smith and gave us a standing ovation. This was totally unexpected and it moved us deeply. The fact that it was streaming live allowed my 93-year-old mother to watch. That was the most rewarding part.
After meeting many members of the House and Senate, we were taken to meet the governor. What a down-to-earth guy. I felt like 5 more minutes with him we’d be on a first name basis. Coming from a place where the governor thinks he’s a king, it was quite refreshing.
It would be tough to top a day like June 1, but leave it to Frank and Terry McCarthy to try! A dinner in our honor at Deacon Street restaurant in North Conway, sponsored (and paid for) by the McCarthys was attended by at least 50-60 Conway residents, including Rep. Karen Umberger (R-Conway), Lorraine Cormack, who provided fresh flowers in engraved glasses, and Tom Eastman of The Conway Daily Sun, who wrote a wonderful article on the whole affair. Air Force veteran, Rev. Gil Healy led the before-meal prayer.
Topping the evening was meeting so many wonderful citizens of Conway. I was truly humbled as they thanked me for my service, when it was I who should be thanking them. Many of the men were veterans themselves, who I’m sure had many untold experiences in uniform themselves. Each of them wrote Uncle Sam a blank check on their lives when they enlisted. I would have trusted, and been proud to share a foxhole, with, any one of them.
This was the way we were treated from the minute we arrived. Getting in late the day before and not wanting to barge in on our hosts early, we decided to spend the night in our motor home at the beach camping area on Route 16 in Conway. Upon checking in, my wife pointed out my picture on the front page of the paper lying on the counter. We were immediately told to select the nicest camp site.
The owners, Tom and Marilyn O’Boyle refused to accept payment. The next two nights were spent at the McCarthy’s residence where we were treated like family. Terry McCarthy went out of her way to make us at home, right down to chauffeuring us to Concord and back. It seems they both have boundless energy. It must come from the clean mountain air!
To sum this up, my wife and I wish to thank everyone involved for making this an event of a life time. And hear this, we will return to spend some time soon. Better folks can’t be found than those in Conway.
Lorne and Robin LeMieux