“Do Those Soldiers Know About Me?”

This speech was given on May 22nd, 2015, during Memorial School’s annual Memorial Day assembly.

Chief1

Welcome, and good afternoon Veterans, Emergency Services Personnel, Students, Staff, Parents and Community Members.

I would like to recognize our police and fire men and women joining us here today. Our emergency services personnel have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe every day in our community, and it is fitting to recognize each of the men and women here today. If you are serving as a police or fire man or woman, please stand to be recognized.

And, I would like to especially thank our veterans. It gives me great pride to know that although, in some cases, we may only see each other a few times, if that much, a year, we come together, united by our service, to recognize our brothers and sisters who serve, have served, have sacrificed, and who have given their life to protect what we hold so dear.

I had a student ask me earlier this week at lunch (very innocently, I might add), “I don’t know anyone who is in the military. Do those soldiers know about me?” I thought about it for a second, and I told her that anyone who serves is serving every citizen in the United States. I thought about it some more later, and I realized that I truly believe that a school encapsulates the many things that those who serve desire to protect. They exist right here in Memorial, and in schools just like ours, all across America.

Hope: All of you amazing Memorial students represent the future of America. We believe and know that you will all be productive citizens in our communities, as you are right here in Memorial School. Our servicemen and women fight for our country to preserve that hope.

Innocence: As a staff, we strive to allow each of our students to learn, make mistakes, grow, and hold onto being a child for as long as you are able. Those who serve do so to preserve our children’s innocence for as long as possible.

Possibility: I share my favorite poem to kindergarteners and fifth graders every year. It is by Shel Silverstein and is called “Listen to the Musnt’s”. It is about what can be, and that is what America truly stands for. We encourage our children to reach for the stars, every single one of them, and the veterans seated before you today were willing to serve for that right for all Americans to reach for what can be.

Family and Community: We know that family and community are integral to the fabric of our nation. Those who serve are not only serving for themselves, but are representing the many at home who, although they aren’t there in person, are there with the serviceman or woman in spirit. So, to answer our first grader’s question, they are representing and fighting for every person in this room. I am certainly thankful for that.

Each year, we dedicate our assembly to someone who has served, and someone who has a connection to Memorial School and the Town of Newton. I’d like to read some information about a gentleman that I have come to know quite well, especially over the past seven years, and someone for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect.

Chief Streeter entered the United States Army in 1967 at the age of 18. After completing basic and advanced training Chief Streeter was deployed to Korea during the “Pueblo” incident where he served as the Battalion Commander’s Driver in the 3rd Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Chief Streeter served in that capacity for ten months when he volunteered for service in the Republic of Viet Nam.

Arriving in Viet Nam, having been promoted based on his previous assignment in a truck driver “MOS,” Chief Streeter who had previously never driven anything larger than a Jeep ended up driving a gasoline powered tractor trailer delivering 5,000 gallon loads of “JP-4” helicopter fuel to an Australian “outpost” called “Baria.” Chief Streeter served in that capacity for fourteen months, returning home from Phu Bai, Vietnam in February 1970, as a Specialist 5/E-5.

At that time Chief Streeter joined the Salisbury Police Department as a part time officer while attending Northern Essex Community College and Northeastern University. Chief Streeter transferred to the Amesbury Police Department in 1976 where he served as a patrolman, plain clothes narcotics investigator, patrol sergeant and supervisor of detectives. During this time Chief Streeter also earned his master’s degree in Criminal Justice.

In 1982 Chief Streeter was seriously wounded while on duty and spent five weeks in Massachusetts General Hospital. While in Mass General, Chief’s Streeter’s wife Cindy gave birth to their first child, Chad. Chad would later go on to serve with the United States Army, 82nd Airborne and was actually stationed in the same camp and same barracks location with the 2nd Infantry Division, Long Range Surveillance Detachment – Airborne, where Chief Streeter had been assigned thirty years earlier, Camp Casey.

After thirteen years with the Amesbury Police Department, Chief Streeter returned to the Salisbury Police Department in 1988 as the Chief of Police. Chief Streeter served as the Salisbury Chief for fourteen years until reaching his maximum retirement entitlement in December of 2002. Chief Streeter came to Newton in that same month and year and is currently celebrating over fourteen years as the Police Chief for the Town of Newton.

In Chief’s time leading the Newton Police Department, it has become one of NH’s eleven police departments to be state accredited in both 2007 and again in 2011. The Newton Police department will undergo a Nation Accreditation review process during this July and if successful will be again one of eleven in the State of NH and among only five percent of police department’s in the nation to attain that status.

Chief Streeter is extremely and sincerely grateful for everything that he has been able to accomplish based on the sacrifices of so many that were never given the same opportunity(ies).

It is my honor to present this flag, flown over Memorial School, to someone who continues to protect and serve-45 years in law enforcement-doing his best to keep our Memorial community and the community of Newton safe. Chief Larry Streeter.

Boys and girls, on Monday, when we recognize Memorial Day officially, please take the time to thank a veteran. And please remember the many servicemen and women of our nations’ forces who gave the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives so that we may be free.

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