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May 25th, 2008 MEMORIAL DAY

I can't think of a more fitting way to end this incredible run of surf, than this week, and this particular holiday. Memorial Day. The surf run has finally ended, and we can finally reflect on this totally insane Winter & Spring. From November right thru last week. That was one hell of a ride. Am I right people? Hell yes I am. And now that it's over, it almost seems surreal.

So here it is Memorial Day.

You all know what this day is all about. And it makes no difference of where you stand politically, we can all agree, that this day is set aside each year, to pay tribute and respect, to those brave Americans who have given their lives for our freedom and democracy. For our very right to surf.

Think of how many surfers have lost their lives in America's different wars and conflicts. From WWII to the current GWOT, surfers have served our country honorably, and some have paid the ultimate price in doing so. It's true. And what's even more significant, is how many surfers have had family members serve our country, who didn't necessarily surf, but clearly had family ties with our passion, for the ocean and her waves. I mean, each and everyone of us has family members who have served in the military.

Rare, is the family who did not.

Each Memorial Day I think of several friends who lost their lives while serving our country. I've mentioned one before, Joe Somogyi. He was a surfer from Hampton . Hell he was more than a surfer, he was a pioneer in discovering and naming many of the breaks we surf around here. He died of exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam war.

Another friend of mine was Brian Hubis. He was hands down the most athletic person I ever knew. He could play any sport, and play it well, and he was as intelligent as any college grad with a Masters degree. But more importantly, he was the funniest person I ever met during that time.
He was an Officer in the ARMY. He gave me and my friend,
a ride home, during a snow storm, the night before he shipped out.

I remember how strangely quiet he was that night.

Like he knew something that we didn't know. We were leaving for Marine Corps Bootcamp that summer. He told us to pay attention to our Drill Instructors. And that this war was no joke. He was killed by a sniper's bullet a few months later. My buddies and I in bootcamp, were freaked out.

How could they kill Brian Hubis?

It was a sobering week in Parris Island when we lost Brian. But honestly, when I think of all the friends I lost, there's one, who's story I'd like to share with you all.

Michael T. Guzzetti Jr was 18 yrs old when I met him.

We met during our advanced Infantry training in the Marine Corps. He was from the Boston area, and I was from the North Shore. In the military, that's close enough to be considered "Homeys". Guzzetti was my Homey. The first thing I noticed about Mike was, he didn't have a hair on his face. Seriously. He had a "baby face."

In fact, his face had fresh scars all over it, due to a severe car accident he had been in, a few months before, while home on leave. The Marines wanted to discharge him. But Mikey insisted on staying in the Corps. He could of been Honorably discharged, and no one would of thought any different or less of him. But beneath that baby face, was a true Patriot. A young man, who believed in something greater than his own self being.

Mikey was a Marine...

...and the Marines, unfortunately, are in the war business. And, as it turned out, during those times, business was good. Too good. Mikey was part of that. We all were. Like our fathers before us, we heard a calling, and took an oath to defend our country, and to preserve freedom and democracy all around this globe.

Mikey took that oath to heart.

The 17 hour plane ride to Southeast Asia is quite the experience. I sat next to MIkey on the plane. And man, we talked about everything under the sun. But mostly, we talked about the plane ride home. Exactly one year from that moment. I can recall telling Mikey, that when we got "back to the world" that I was going to take him up North to Hampton and introduce him to surfing. We laughed at the thought of him trying surfing. He was after all, a city kid. He never really hung around the beach much. But I could tell, he was looking forward to it. I described surfing to him, the best I could back in those days.

He was getting stoked, with the help of my active imagination in my description, of what surfing was all about. I told him, that the girls would love him and he'd fit right in in Hampton. We laughed and joked about it all. In return, he would show me around the big city (Boston). I was as clearly lost in Big cities, as he was on the beach.

It seemed like a good trade off.

All we had to do, was survive the war. We made a pledge that we would be on the same "Freedom bird" that would take us home. And when we landed at Logan, we would go and visit his family and friends first, and then we would head north to the beaches, and meet my family and friends.

When we landed overseas we went through our initial indoctrination, and got our assigned units. Mikey got the 1st Marine Division down south, and I went north to the 3rd Marine Division. We said good bye to each other, before heading out on the trucks, that would take us to our units. I told him, I'd see him in one year, and he better be ready to go surfing when we got back. We both laughed. Nervously.

I remember thinking at how young he looked to me. Like he was 16yrs old. He looked like a scared kid. Which is what he was. We were all scared. Mostly of the not knowing.

One week later, while we were out on a "hump" in the bush, we were all taking a break in the blazing hot sun. I was still a FNG (F---king New Guy) and only knew a few of the guys who I came over with. So this rumor, or story, circulated through the ranks and got to me. "Did you hear about Guzzetti?" I heard someone say. "Wha..who? Did you say Guzzetti? Mike Guzzetti?"

"He got killed yesterday." Someone said.

"No way". I said. "No f--king way!" The dude who told me was this black guy named Nelson. "They got ambushed and Mikey caught an AK round. They couldn't save him. Wasn't he your friend?"

I don't think I cried. But I know I shut down. And I know I buried it for a long time, and refused to talk about it, or believe it for that matter. It was my way of dealing with it. If I didn't talk about it, maybe it didn't really happen. I was like an ostrich with my head in the sand. It didn't happen.

Fast forward to 1985. I was in Washington DC with my then girlfriend, and future wife, Cory and her father Jerry. We were at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. It was time to face the facts. I looked up several names of other friends of mine. But I was there for one name in particular. Mike Guzzetti. Seeing his name in the directory gave me a sick empty feeling. But seeing his name on that Black granite wall, brought it all back to me. It was true. Mikey was gone.

I guess I knew it it all along, and I was only fooling myself.

So Memorial Day means a lot of different things to many people, but to me, it's a time to reflect on how lucky we truly all are because of the brave Americans like Brian, Joe, and Mikey who were willing to sacrifice it all, for Freedom and Democracy. Since WWII to the current GWOT, some 523,510 Americans have given their lives for our country.
And, some 1.5 million more have been wounded.

We owe each and every one of them, our most sincere respect and heartfelt thanks. And may we, never, ever, forget their sacrifices, and the sacrifices that their families and friends have endured.

Remember my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.


Yesterday February 23, 1945 the Flag Raising on Iwo Jima.
(Below) No other Military photograph has had such an affect on my life as this photo. I remember being a
small child and seeing this in one of my dad's books. I had no idea who they were, or where they were. I just
knew, that these guys represented America, and her total resolve, during one of the most horrific battles in all
of WWII. Some 6,000 Marines died on Iwo Jima. That needs to be repeated...over 6,000 Marines died in a
little over a month, in this pitched battle with the Japanese Army. My uncle was there, and a few other friends
whom I had the pleasure of knowing. They are all gone now. *Over 400,000 Americans died during 4 years
of fighting in WWII. How many surfers were in that number? I guess we'll never know.
Photo by Joe Rosenthal.

2008 Today-May , 2008

(Above) The Swells have stopped coming (for awhile). It's a good time to remember.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain. America. America. God shed his grace on thee,
and crown thy good, with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Last winter visiting an old friend. A National Parks & Monument assistant helps me find Mikey.
Photo by Max Fatello

(Above) You can see my reflection as I took this photo. Mikey never got to go surfing with me.
Photo by R.Fatello

(Above) How could they kill Brian Hubis?
Photo by R. Fatello

(Above) Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC.
Photo by R. Fatello

(Above) WWII Memorial in Washington DC.
Photo by R. Fatello

(Above) More WWII Memorial in Washington DC.
Photo by R. Fatello

(Above) My father and uncles all served in WWII. Max and I at the WWII Memorial in Washington DC.
Photo courtesy of R. Fatello

(Above) WWII Memorial in Washington DC.
Photo by R. Fatello

(Above) Korean War Memorial in Washington DC.
Photo by R. Fatello

(Above) The Flag at the Korean War Memorial in Washington DC.
Photo by R. Fatello

(Above) Bruce Brown was from Hampton and he loved the beach. This is at the Hampton Harbor. We
had it placed last year. Stop by and see it the next time you visit.
Photo by R. Fatello

(Above) Steve Philbrick was the Captain of the WHS (Hampton) Football team...he loved the beach too.
Steve was killed on June 6th, 1969 in Vietnam.
Photo courtesy of Hampton Library

(Above) 1st LT Brian McPhillips is the beloved cousin of Cinnamon Rainbows Heather Day. Brian was
KIA in Iraq in April of 2003. He received the Bronze Star for bravery.
Photo courtesy of the McPhillips family.

(Above) CPO Dan Healy from Exeter NH loved surfing both here and in Hawaii. Dan was killed in Afghanistan
in June of 2005. Dan was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery.
Photo courtesy of US NAVY.

Navy SEALs operating in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. From left to right, Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Daniel R. Healy, of Exeter, Quartermaster 2nd Class James Suh, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell, Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Patton and Lt. Michael P. Murphy.

(Above) The GWOT monument in Hampton. Please remember all of our Nation's fallen.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) CLICK ON Video (photo) Frame Grab of my late best friend Joe Somogyi taken at the WALL. Joe was
a war hero and was awarded many medals for bravery during the war before dying from AGENT ORANGE
in 1979...this was shot a year before his death. From the Movie THE WALL 2000-2001
Video Frame grab by R. Fatello SFOD

2008 Today- Saturday May 24th, 2008

(Above) Local surfer girl Julia Nichols graduated yesterday from UNH. Congrats Julia!
Photo by Lenny Nichols

(Above) Local surfer boy Casey Lockwood graduated yesterday from UNH. Congrats Casey!
Photo by Lenny Nichols

Today 2008 Parting Shot..."Salute The Fallen!"

Above) People have asked me..."Why do you salute after certain rides?" Well, truth be told, I salute all my
friends who lost their lives while serving this country...I remember them, and I salute the waves they never got to ride.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello




















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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