Veterans to take center stage at festival parade

By Stephen Betts | Jul 20, 2019
Photo by: File Photo The Midcoast Area Veterans Memorial in Rockland.

Rockland — Veterans will be the grand marshals of the 2019 Maine Lobster Festival parade.

Russell Wolfertz Jr., the first vice commander of the Winslow-Holbrook-Merritt post of the American Legion in Rockland, has been working feverishly to have as many veterans as possible attend this year's parade.

Wolfertz said it could end up as the largest gathering of veterans and their families in the modern history of Rockland. He thanked the Maine Lobster Festival for the opportunity.

He said honor guards from various posts will be participating. Motorcycle groups of veterans have also agreed to participate.

Honor Flight has arranged for many World War II veterans to attend.

"We have Koreans, various European and Gulf deployments and Vietnam from Tet to La Drang Valley to Blue Water and Navy air conflict," he said.

Wolfertz said some veterans -- men and women -- have said they don't want the recognition.

"I remind them that it's for all the vets," Wolfertz said, including local veterans who died in the service of their country.

The Midcoast Area Veterans Memorial is taking photographs of every tile on the memorial at the American Legion grounds and will attach the photos to card stock. Those poster boards with photos will then be available to be picked up by family members, who are encouraged to display them in the parade.

The parade is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.

Michael McNeil said the poster boards will be at attorney James Brannan's office, 15 Limerock St., Rockland, on the Thursday and Friday immediately before the festival. Those that are not picked up at Brannan's office can be picked up on Frederick Street in Rockland prior to the start of the parade.

There will be 363 poster boards with photos, McNeil said. He said family members can write on them and march in the parade.

Veterans are encouraged to participate in this year's parade, and a concerted effort is being made for them to march or ride along, McNeil said. The Veterans Memorial organization will have a float and any veteran who feels unable to walk can ride on one of the seats on the float.

Comments (18)
Posted by: Janet Ruth Dearborn | Jul 21, 2019 23:54

Jeff Sukeforth

You are dealing in revisionist history. It's lunacy to say I was lacking any paperwork, I did due diligence, I called VTRECS and his file only contained his enlistment information. Why were these standards applied to my brother, yet not to all the names added in 2000 and since? I tried funeral home records and I pursued all the obstacles put in front of me. Remember when I was asked to prove he had an honorary discharge? I suggested that a short trip to Mountain View cemetery would reveal he has a military marker on his grave. I had to explain if he had been dishonorably discharged there would not have been a full military funeral or a government marker. This was one of the least inane exercises of all the ones I was subjected to. The s...t got so deep I needed hip boots.


Well, Jeff if you'd like to help me, please put my brother's name on the Veterans Memorial in Camden immediately. That would be the only fair thing to happen during these years of turmoil. When my father enlisted in the Marine Corps he and Gibby Richards struck out to New Jersey, where he enlisted. You make it sound like such a "hometown event", as if there was a line at the Town Hall to enlist. My brother enlisted in New York because he went to see my grandparents and mother prior to enlisting. The last email I have on this subject was from you, the reason given for rejecting my brother was he did not list Camden as his home town when discharged. Let's get these excuses organized.


Let's see just to recap, He escorted a dead veteran to LA as was customary when you left Vietnam. There was a debriefing, he then came home to Camden. After eating lunch with my grandmother he went upstairs and shot himself with my father's service revolver. To me, he certainly was buried in the town he was born in. And you have the unmitigated gall to say I should not be "negative" about my four-year charade with the powers to be in Camden. If for example my brother's godfather Aubrey Young or Parker Laite were still alive, I am confident I would not have been treated the way I have been treated. You chose to not address the VFW's roll in filling up the wall with all those native sons who "served" from Camden. I have done my homework Jeff.


The negativity comes from my not drinking the Kool-Aid which was being served. But, it goes farther back, all the way to my picking up my brother at Laguardia Airport in 1969. He started at the gate with anxiety about not having civilian clothes to change into, I was ignorant of the repercussions. As we walked through the airport, people spit on him, when we went out the door we were met with Antiwar demonstrators who threw eggs and rotten vegetables, a cop helped us escape. I was off to college, there was little time to talk but we would be together at Christmas. I lost my only sibling, there couldn't be a service at St. Thomas because it "was a suicide and decorated for Christmas" but my mother insisted upon an open casket, so I did "see" him again. I'm not negative, I am outraged and angry that even in death "he doesn't belong" because he went to Vietnam 50 years ago.


My mother also served in the Army during WWII, my entire family has military markers as footstones. I'd say my family served. Fifty years later it does not appear that many lessons were learned about sending kids to die in a conflict that we never should have ever been in. Our President, who did not serve nor did a single member of his family is very eager to send troops to war. He would love to have a major diversion during his reelection campaign. People who have never been under gunfire in some Godforsaken hole thousands of miles away should never be allowed to send troops anywhere. In closing, I would like to relay a saying my father, the crusty Marine often used, "if they ever develop spines, they could all walk erect". This has applications both locally and nationally.





Posted by: Lisa Heal | Jul 21, 2019 20:47

Seriously...the comments...Great work Russ and Mike!! Cant wait to go to the parade and see them all!

Posted by: Barry Douglas Morse | Jul 21, 2019 20:46

MS. Dearborn,

Your brother, Stanton Edward Dearborn, was a  native son of Camden and a war veteran. I hope he eventually receives the recognition you rightfully requested.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jul 21, 2019 17:26

Sometimes I enjoy reading the comments more than the story.  Politics and patriotism two subjects that certainly our President has worked to divide us while all the while disguising  whats really going on.  My issue has never been with the dedication and devotion of our soldiers instead with the reasons for sending them to fight and die.  Reading Mrs. Dearborns letter about her brother being denied a listing on Camden's wall of honor.  Certainly no one could doubt the sacrifices made by the Dearborn family and the natural response would be to include his name and just say Thank you for your service.  However, all to often talk about honoring our veterans becomes just a lot of talk.  This issue should have been simply resolved with all due respect years ago, yet the bitter feeling just go on.  Like honoring our veterans, I feel the best way to honor them and their children would be to stop sending them to War

Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Jul 21, 2019 16:40

Miss Dearborn once again you have intruded onto a space in which your issue with the town of Camden, the select board and the American Legion has no place. You have been told numerous times why your brother is not on the memorial in Camden. It is due to the simple fact he did not enter the service from Camden but the state of New York. You have been instructed on how to obtain a copy of his DD Form 214, his discharge paperwork but yet you say that cannot be done.

Please stop the negativeness, I never appointed myself as arbiter nor I ever mentioned or used my "authority", due to the simple fact I have none. I simply tried to assist you however your continued feeling that you and your family have been wronged and that "we" have not done enough is simply not true. Once again I stand ready to help you if you desire in getting the proper paperwork to get the discharge paper and please for the umpteenth time stop the negativity it does not help you.

Posted by: Janet Ruth Dearborn | Jul 21, 2019 14:51

Let me preface my writing with perhaps I might not have written this if it wasn't 95 degrees in the shade. I saw that Jeff Sukeforth had once again weighed in on all things patriotic and his service to this country.


Since everyone is weighing in on patriotism, please allow me to point to my brother Stanton Edward Dearborn, born in Camden, baptized at St.Thomas, he joined the fifth generation of my family to serve during wartime. My father Edward Dearborn served in the Marine Corps in the Pacific and Korea. My brother was a helicopter door gunner with the 1st Cavalry Aviation. He returned home to Camden, several months later at Christmas my brother shot himself in my grandmother's home on Limerock St., he had a full military funeral and is buried at Mountain View cemetery.


When I moved back to Maine I equated having my brother's name added to the War Memorial on the village green in Camden to simply being a trip to the Town Hall. There were only three spaces left for names under Vietnam. I was told that in 2000 when the planning began for the memorial that Vietnam was considered just so unpleasant and unpopular it was a struggle to gain any space at all. I lobbied hard, fought tooth and nail, the Courier wrote tremendous stories supporting my efforts to have my brother's name added with the rest of my family. He was the last Dearborn male in my family.

I received a written statement from John French to not worry, my brother's name would be on the wall. Then there was talk to finally institute the requirements for inclusion on the wall, they had no standards for eligibility. Then Jeff Sukeforth entereded the picture, by then I had gone through so many decision-makers that I had no patience for more obstruction. He had many complaints dealing with me boiling down to my not being deferential enough to his "authority". In the end, he told me my brother could not be included on the wall because when he was discharged he did not put Camden as his hometown on a form I had never seen. But, this was the smoking gun after four years Jeff Sukeforth was waiting for, he had appointed himself as arbiter.


Here is my belief on why my brother was denied. I had been told that there was a good deal of arguing at the VFW Hall in Camden over the names to be added finally under Vietnam. The VFW serves a wide area, not all Camden vets, the list was soon filled, as was the space on the wall with names of men who did not serve from Camden. Certainly, the exacting standards that were applied to my brother had not been applied to the VFW members. I never took it any further, the Vietnam 50th Anniversary was approaching, finally, the men who served were to be recognized.  I was not going to deny any Vietnam vet the chance to see their name on a memorial, not after 50 years, they had suffered enough.


I will be the first person to applaud Jeff Sukeforth's activism through the VFW and other veteran organizations, he has made it his life. Perhaps I should be more angry with the Town of Camden for never establishing a committee to review names for inclusion, leaving it to anyone who wanted to take it over. But, I will never forgive Jeff Sukeforth and John French for stretching this struggle over years with one excuse after another, another hoop for me to jump through. My grandmother's home is still in my family, I never go to Camden and I go the back way to Mountain View's all gone in more ways than I can count.



Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Jul 21, 2019 13:47

Mr. Mckusick, neither the 4th nor the festival parade have lost its focus. Parades have been around for many years as have military parades with the weapons used in fighting those wars from Revolutionary and civil wars , WWI, WWII and those since, although the Vietnam Veterans got a raw and terrible deal from their own countrymen, but that is a topic for another time.  There are no cannon, rockets etc being paraded during the festival, only men and women who have served proudly and honorably so both yourself and Mr.Carroll can have the opinions you put forth in your remarks. If you do not appreciate this then remain at home and do attend, there will be many folks lining the streets who do appreciate Veterans and will be cheering for them.


Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 21, 2019 11:44

The Fourth of July lost its focus this year and now the Lobster Festival.  WOW!  It has nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or appreciation for those who serve.  Will be glad when it comes to the point we can celebrate peace and love for our fellow man, woman and child.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jul 21, 2019 09:38

Although Kate most people enjoy reading a good story even if the facts are terribly wrong. First I have lived in this area all my life and think you would find it difficult to find another person to call me "violent".   Yes your dog did kill several of our pet chickens and you choose to call that unfortunate.  The violent deaths of young women & children in Iraq were they also "unfortunate deaths". ?  Our road that we had just spent thousands to repair was not damaged by rain, rather due to the heavy equipment you drove on our road without permission.  We purchased your family's land and that is how our relationship began.  Just because your husband served in Iraq does not give hime the entitlement to treat others as inferiors.  I honor our troops that served, I do not however honor their accomplishments

Posted by: Helen H Silk | Jul 21, 2019 09:21

Exactly, Mr Carroll.  I've long thought that the best way to honor our troops is to promote peace so we don't need folks in a military capacity.  I find nothing "patriotic" in promoting military aggression.

Posted by: Ian Emmott | Jul 20, 2019 22:02

This just absolutely made my day. Very excited.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 20, 2019 21:49

Are Veterans For Peace participating?

Posted by: Mary Kate Moody | Jul 20, 2019 21:04

In regards to Steve Carroll's less than patriotic comments-I say shame on this man.  This man came onto my property and threatened violence many years ago within days of my return home from service in Iraq, all due to a heavy rainstorm and erosion in his girlfriend's driveway.  This is a man who shot my dog with birdshot because the young dog at less than a year old unfortunately killed a few of his girlfriends free range chickens, thinking they were play toys.   This is a man who screamed at me on my property that "this isn't the military, and you can't just do whatever you want."  I say to you Steve Carroll, you are allowed to say and do what you do because of those of us who have served and deserve to be honored.

Chris Moody

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jul 20, 2019 17:50

Yes Jeff I would agree with you IF these tools were used in defense of our country.  The last time we were attacked ( by our good friend Saudi-Arabia who we just signed a massive arms deal with) all our jets, ships and defensive systems were quietly sleeping somewhere.  We are the aggressor , the Evil Empire, who continually interferes with other countries and I'm not just making this stuff up.  If you wish to check my sourses there are plenty.  I just find it unpatriotic to endorse  such behavior.

Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Jul 20, 2019 16:50

Sorry Stephen & Mary but I humbly disagree with you on the 4th of July parade. I feel sad that you equated it to Korea, Russia and China. To me, and I am a retired Air Force Vet, it proudly showed the many items which today's men and women use in defense of our great country.

In saying that I remind you that it is the defense of our great country which allows us to disagree on matters such as this and do hope that you both will be on the sidewalks applauding and thanking the many Veterans who will be parading on August 3rd.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jul 20, 2019 13:47

I agree with your opinion Stephen.  With our country so in debt, it is ludicrous to spend  money we do not have, in such display.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jul 20, 2019 09:30

I grew up with Russ Wolfertz and have know Mike McNeil for many years.  These are good men who take great pride in their work and are strong Patriots as with the many men and women that have made sacrifices in service to their country.  Along with my sense of respect I also carry sadness for the lives lost and injured.  Since world war two the U.S. has waged many conflicts around the globe in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and central America.  None of these conflicts have been waged to defend our country, instead they were begun to initiate regime change in foreign countries.  I congratulate those like Tulsi Gabbard who are trying to draw attention to these endless  conflicts.  Our President presented a shameful display of our "military might" during his 4th of July celebration.  This show of force was reminiscent of those I have seen in China, Russia and North Korea.  It should be our goal to create peace around the world not wage unnecessary wars that cause pain and suffering.  Let's not continue to glorify war through these displays.  Let's just be appreciative of their service and try to create a world where no one else needs to die.

Posted by: Helen Plourd | Jul 20, 2019 06:35

What a stupendous idea!

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