Veterans’ stories highlighted at Paris service

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PARIS  Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes of Buckfield encouraged veterans attending the Memorial Day service in Moore Park on Monday to share their stories with their loved ones before they’re lost in the annals of time.

Before Hayes’ remarks, grand marshals Dominik and Diane Klinger led the parade down Main Street through Market Square, followed by veterans, veterans auxiliary members, baseball teams and the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Band.

Hayes told the crowd she felt awkward taking the honor away from veterans because she has never served in the military. In trying to write her speech, she reached out to Adria Horn of the Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services, who advised her to speak about her family members instead of history. 

Hayes’ father served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Her brother also served in the Navy and her uncle retired from the U.S. Air Force.

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“I never talked to any of those men about their service,” Hayes said.

Her father died when she was 11 years old.

“He died as an accident and his stories died with him,” she said.

Horn was able to provide Hayes with her father’s service record, which revealed two medals he had earned. Hayes also saw his signature on one of the documents, which she had not seen except on her birth certificate.

“I started to cry just looking at it,” Hayes said. “He wrote his name there before he even knew about me because I (wasn’t) around yet.”

“None of us knew about his service,” she continued, adding she will share the recently discovered information about her father’s medals with her siblings.

Hayes followed Horn’s advice to “look around and encourage the veterans that are there to talk about their stories with people that they love, to encourage them to share whatever pieces of their service that they’re willing to.”

Hayes thanked Horn for her sage advice.

“I was so impressed with her,” Hayes said. “I thought she should come and give the speech because she nailed it.” 

Also at the ceremony, the Rev. Mary Beth Caffey of First Baptist Church of Paris led the invocation and benediction.

Paris Police Chief Hartley “Skip” Mowatt, who is retired from the U.S. Army, read “General Logan’s General Order No. 11.”

Retired Navy Lt. Art Hill read The Gettysburg Address.

Boys State delegate Cameron Bancroft, a member of the high school band, read “In Flanders Fields.” Girls State delegate Lindsay Robins read “America’s Answer to ‘In Flanders Fields.

Christian Ritchie, a represenative of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, read a letter from her and presented a signed copy of it to American Legion Post Vice Commander Joseph Woodbury, who served as the master of ceremonies.

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Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes addresses the crowd at Moore Park on Monday at the annual Paris Memorial Day Service.

Grand Marshals Dominik and Diane Klinger lead the parade to Moore Park on Monday during the Paris Memorial Day Service. Dominik was a member of the Army Reserves for more than 40 years and fled his native Romania during World War II from the Russians.

Kyle Jordan left conducts the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Band as students play the National Anthem during Monday’s Memorial Day Service in Paris.

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