Tag Archives: veterans

To all veterans — Thank You!

[Sorry for not getting this posted earlier. I was working on another project and simply could not get to this until now. Here are links to some of the stories presented in the two major Maine newspapers on this Veterans Day. You don’t have to like war to deeply appreciate that young men and women are willing to put down their lives in defense of this nation. I thank all who have worn the uniform or otherwise served in the defense of this country. – KM]

More than 1,000 remember fallen Marine and a ‘life lived full throttle’ | Bangor Daily News

Editorial: Veterans Day 2010 | Bangor Daily News

Maine soldier was killed by small-arms fire in Afghanistan | Bangor Daily News

Veterans Day: Old Town students offer thanks | Bangor Daily News

Veterans honored at Machias high school | Bangor Daily News

Korean War veterans honored in Dover-Foxcroft | Bangor Daily News

Brewer ceremony recognizes military service | Bangor Daily News

SAD 4 students thank veterans in moving assembly | Bangor Daily News

Video: Injured Gulf War veteran finds solace in seclusion | Bangor Daily News

Parade, ceremony honor veterans in Portland | Portland Press Herald

Mainers across the state thank vets today | Portland Press Herald

Nemitz: ‘The memories don’t leave you’ | Portland Press Herald

Editorial: Veterans Day honors all who wore the uniform | Portland Press Herald


VA patients to be allowed to use medical marijuana in 14 states, including Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

VA patients to be allowed to use medical marijuana in 14 states | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

War vets begin bike trek to Los Angeles | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

War vets begin bike trek to Los Angeles | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Sabattus teens express pride in their veterans | Lewiston Sun Journal

SABATTUS — Erin Black thought she’d be OK introducing her dad, two uncles and an aunt to her school. But moments in, her throat closed and her words ceased.

“I don’t know what happened,” the 14-year-old said later, still choking back tears. Her dad, Gary Black, stood nearby. His eyes were red and puffy.

“I never get a chance to tell them how proud I am,” Erin said.

That’s what the annual Memorial Day service at Sabattus Central School was meant to do.

Fathers, grandfathers, cousins and friends — veterans all — stood by while their eighth-grader introduced them. The intro included years served and where. Then, the kids spoke about why they were proud.

Erin Black called her dad “an American hero.”

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Daniel Hartill in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Veteran Affairs secretary visiting Maine vows changes coming | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Veteran Affairs secretary visiting Maine vows changes coming | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

From California to Maine, thank you vets

Just wanted to say to every man and woman who serves in uniform or who has served in uniform – from Maine to California – thank you for your service. Your sacrifices and the sacrifices of those who have fallen are not forgotten.

As I grow older and the men and women who are called to serve seem to be getting younger and younger, I have a growing appreciation for the commitment and love of country it takes to don a U.S. military uniform. I am awed by you all.

I am also impressed by a group of people who have been there for servicemen and woman going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Maine Greeters. Members – mostly elderly, some for the wars and some against the wars – have greeted servicemen and women going and returning from war at the airport in Bangor, Maine, for years and a documentary on the group is being shown tonight on PBS’s POV. Please check out local listings and check out the documentary. I believe the documentary will be online after this evening for about a month if you cannot see it tonight. The documentary is as much about aging as it is about greeting servicemen and women going to and returning from war.

Again, veterans, thank you!

Support – barely – for ‘We Support Our Troops’ plate


Mainers were able to purchase enough "We Support Our Troops" vehicle license plates to keep it from being retired.

 Mainers have purchased enough “We Support Our Troops” license plates – just by a hair – to guarantee the plate will be around for the foreseeable future. That is good for Maine, Mainers in uniform, their families, and veterans. 

According to a story today in the Portland Press Herald, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said sales of the plate – which shows a yellow ribbon over an image of the state to the left of the plate number and “We Support Our Troops” over a emerald forest background across the bottom of the plate – needed to hit the 4,000 annual sales mark or the plate would be retired. The plate hit 4,017 as of Monday, according to the story by Press Herald staffer Beth Quimby.  However, the sales have not been enough to assure the plate’s long-term viability, according to Quimby’s story.  

For those outside of Maine, the standard plate carries an image of the state bird, a chickadee; I believe it is perched on the Maine state flower, the white pine cone and tassel. Two popular specialty plates include one with an image of a lobster, which is on 25,511 Maine vehicles, and the agriculture plate, which was launched the same year as the “We Support Our Troops” was launched and is on 13,250 vehicles, according to the story.Dunlap a couple of months ago warned that if sales did not pick up the plate could be retired. Military groups and some businesses got behind the sales effort. 

And why not. There are 900 or so members of the Maine National Guard – including a guy I went to high school with – who will be shipping out to Afghanistan and Iraq after the first of the year. 

A portion of the sales fee – $10 of the total $55 fee for the plate – goes to supporting families of Maine troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. So far $40,000 has been raised. “Yellow ribbon license plates play an indispensable role in supporting the military,” Capt. Shanon Cotta, spokesman for the Maine Army National Guard, said in the Press Herald story. 

There seems to be a bipartisan effort in the state to lower the threshold to 3,500 plates rather than the 4,000 limit. The lawmaker who first proposed the plate, a Democrat, has been marketing the plate to some groups – in some cases to a membership that had not known of the plate – and a Republican is working to have fellow state lawmakers lower the arbitrary 4,000 level. 

I suppose I can understand the reluctance of some Maine motorists to get the specialty plate. The specialty plate fee is $20 more than for the standard chickadee plate. A tough economy has been even tougher on small states such as Maine, so an extra $20 means more than it would some other places. And some people – for some unknown, warped reason – still equate supporting troops with supporting the war they have been sent to fight. It is not. Others might not get the plate for fear of retaliation from war protesters, the same people who equate supporting troops with supporting the war. 

The plate is good because it tells the men and women who wear the uniform that they are supported in a clear and open way. And each time they see a plate, perhaps they recall that part of the fee goes to supporting their families why they are serving the country. That is good for the morale of the troops, their families, veterans who might not have received the same support in another era, and to a public weary after years of war. 

I am not the type to put a magnetic “ribbon” on my car. I am a reserved person. (A “reserved” Mainer may be a redundancy.) But I might consider getting the plate if I wasn’t from away. 

Today is the Marine Corps birthday. Happy birthday! 

Today is also the day the nation mourns those killed at Fort Hood, Texas. A nation grieves and shares in the loss. 

And tomorrow, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. This would be a good week for a Maine motorist to purchase a “We Support Our Troops” plate, not to support the war, but to support the soldiers, seamen, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who serve. 


Tune in to ‘The Way We Get By’ on Veterans Day

The Way We Get By - Click to Watch the Trailer

The Maine Greeters have offered smiles, handshakes, thanks, free cookies and cell phones to 900,000 or so servicemen and women going through the airport in Bangor, Maine, on their way to Afghanistan and Iraq. From all accounts, the simple acts of kindness, pride and patriotism mean quite a bit to the men and women the Maine Greeters see.

The son of one of the Maine Greeters, Aron Gaudet, made a documentary film on the group, “The Way We Get By,” which is being shown Wednesday – Veterans Day – on PBS’s POV. It shows what the three main Maine Greeters do for servicemen and women, but also shows a different side. One of them, a World War II vet, is a staunch supporter of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while the others have their doubts. All three are facing illnesses or loneliness or simply the fears associated with growing older.

Please check local listings and consider turning on PBS on Wednesday evening. It is not about being for or against war. It is about the men and women who serve, whether they are in a uniform or offering a smile, cookie and a cell phone.