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Midcoast lens: Veterans Day events around town

By Susan Mustapich | Nov 12, 2019
Photo by: Ellen Curtis Many veterans gathered Nov. 8 at Camden-Rockport Middle School for the annual assembly in appreciation for their service to our country.

The spirit of patriotism was felt throughout the Camden area during events to celebrate Veterans Day.

Camden-Rockport Middle School students held their Veterans Day event Nov. 8, with many veterans in attendance, and an audience of families and community members. Jeff Sukeforth, Adjutant of the local Post 30 War Memorial American Legion, led off with remarks, saying it was the best attendance he has seen for the annual event.

Band and chorus students filled the gymnasium with traditional patriotic music. Some students read thank you cards they had written for veterans.

Veterans from all the branches of military service were asked to stand and were recognized.

Bill Cross, World War II veteran, talked about his experiences in the war. He said after all the battles ended and the war was over "some of our greatest fears were that what we did wouldn't hold, that all we went through wouldn't mean anything." They feared that "young people wouldn't remember where our freedoms come from, and they wouldn't love and protect America the way they should."

Cross described the assembly as reassuring and amazing.

"To see all the love and respect that you have given to our country and our veterans at this assembly is amazing," he said.

"If this kind of thing goes on in other schools, I'm relieved," he said.

On Veterans Day, the hall of Post 30 American Legion, on Pearl Street, was packed for the annual Salute to Veterans. Rosie Gerry, a past commander of Post 30, and a musician, is the man behind the scenes who puts together a full program of readings and songs from country, popular and band music. The audience was carried along memory lane by the entertainment, smiling at the do-wop tunes of The Off Beats from Camden Hills Regional High School and possibly shedding a tear or two when Scott Harrison sang "Ballad of the Green Berets."

State Representative Vicki Doudera opened the program, with a "thank you to our veterans with our deepest gratitude and respect."  She talked about the time around the Vietnam War when "American soldiers returning home were met with hostility and disrespect." She brought this up, not to dampen spirits, she said, but as a reminder that "no matter what our differences, we owe our fellow Americans civility and respect. Especially our soldiers ..."

Doudera also reminded the audience that one in five Mainers is a veteran.

Some of the popular music in the program came from the Vietnam era and most of the audience no doubt remembered hearing it back then. Other songs dated to past eras and wars in American history. Holly Parker from Unity sang the National Anthem, Jeff Sukeforth read Flander's Fields, and a family story from WWII, and prayers were shared. The Lincolnville Band provided a full selection of military anthems and rounded out the program, before the final prayer, with a God Bless America sing-along.

World War II Veteran Bill Cross was the featured speaker at the Camden-Rockport Middle School Veterans Day Assembly Nov. 8. (Photo by: Ellen Curtis)
Many veterans, family and community attended the Camden-Rockport Middle School Veterans Day Assembly Nov. 8. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Jeff Sukeforth, Adjutant of the local Post 30 American Legion, expressed appreciation for the great turnout at the annual Camden-Rockport Middle School Veterans Day Assembly. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The American Legional hall on Pearl Street was packed Nov. 11 at the annual Salute to Veterans event. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
From left, Rosey Gerry, veteran, musician, and former Post 30 American Legion commander joins "The Gang" in "More Than a Name on the Wall." (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
(Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
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Comments (3)
Posted by: David Franclemont | Nov 13, 2019 14:55

Great coverage Susan. We appreciate all you hard work for the community Thank you.

Posted by: Edward Doudera | Nov 13, 2019 12:28

Thank you,Jeff, and all the members of Post 30 for the outreach you do in our community!  I so appreciate your helping to bring the movie "They Shall Not Grow Old" to the Opera House.  It was incredible, and I agree it is a must-see for anyone.

--- Vicki Doudera

Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Nov 13, 2019 11:13

On behalf of War Memorial Post 30 in Camden all of its members send thanks to all in our communities who supported all Veterans during Veterans Day.  Thank you to Camden Rockport Middle School for another wonderful assembly. The students showed much support to us and all Veterans.  Thank you to Camden Hills High School Honor Society and the Wave Cafeteria staff for their wonderful Veterans breakfast, great as always. Thank you to everyone who came out to join Post 30 for their silent vigil on the Village Green at the War Memorial, it was cold but you stood with us and we thank you. Salute to Veterans program and to all the performers who shared their talents in song and finally thank you to Dave Morrison and the Camden Opera House staff for the free screening of "They Shall Not Grow Old" a story about WWI which should be seen by everyone.  Thank you one and all for your support through the year to Post 30 and let's move forward with even more programs for Veterans and our supporting communities alike!

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