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Chelsea High School opens new veteran's wall - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Chelsea High School opens new veteran's wall

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CHELSEA, Vt. - In communities large and small there were somber celebrations Monday to remember the sacrifice of others. In Chelsea residents dedicated a new memorial to fallen soldiers.

"He was a good person. He had many friends. He had purpose and determination," said Barbara LaFrancis.

That's how Francis Lloyd Thompson is remembered. That's how so many fallen soldiers are remembered on Memorial Day.

In Chelsea, a large crowd gathered to honor and thank those who have served in the U.S. military. They also announced the opening of a veteran’s wall, honoring those who died in battle and attended Chelsea High School.

But as the masses gather, several are missing. Francis Thompson and Tuffie Doyle are there in spirit. Doyle, a veteran of the U.S. Army, died in February of this year.

And for other veterans still living, the healing continues. Doug Lyford still remembers coming home from Vietnam and learning that his classmate Francis died.

"There has been a dark cloud in my life for the last 45 years with the loss of my classmate," Lyford said. "April 1968. We were both at Fort Eustis, Virginia. That's the last time I ever saw him."

Francis' photo and medals hung nearby as veterans stepped to the podium and the sounds of the national anthem rang out.

Veteran Ed Kuban reminded those in attendance that Monday marked a day to remember those who fought for the community and country. "You come here to honor our fallen comrades by your presence. You understand that on Memorial Day we honor the ideals and values that these servicemen stood for and died defending," said Ed Kuban.

The ceremony ended with a parade. A celebration of freedom, but memories of lost friends and classmates are forever present.

"This has been a tough road on this subject. I don't think a day goes by that I don't think of Francis," said Lyford.

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