Monument to recall USS Maine sinking

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LEWISTON – The L & A Veterans Council, with the city of Lewiston, will unveil the new USS Maine Monument at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, at Veterans Park.

When the USS Maine was commissioned in 1895, it was the first modern American battleship and the first modern U.S. Navy warship to be built in an American shipyard of materials and components manufactured in the United States.

The Maine visited Portland in November 1895 to receive its silver service and again in August 1897, with the rest of the North Atlantic Squadron. In January 1898, the Maine was ordered to Havana, Cuba, by President William McKinley as part of his plan to pressure Spain into granting independence to the island colony, which was in rebellion.

When the Maine exploded on the night of Feb. 15, 1898, the press and the public blamed the sinking on Spain, and the public and Congressional pressure led to a declaration of war.

“Remember the Maine” became a battle cry, and after the war the battleship was raised, examined and then sunk with honors, in the waters off Cuba. by Joel W Eastman, University of Southern Maine.

The council will also unveil the 12th stone with 216 names on it. At a later date the council hopes to have the program available. For more information, call Chairman Bert Dutil at 786-2305.

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