LEWISTON – Amanda and Emily Fuller may only be 12 years old, but already they know more than most kids about the importance of Independence Day celebrations.

With a father who served for 20 years in the Navy, these twin sisters have learned that Independence Day should be celebrated every day of the year.

“I think it’s really important to show that you care for your country,” Amanda said. “You can show you care every day by being respectful to other people.”

Both of the girls – along with their mother and uncle – volunteered to hold one of the 50 state flags during the Liberty Festival opening ceremonies Thursday evening at the new Courthouse Plaza.

It was their second year to participate as flag bearers, and they each chose an individual state flag based on the symbolism it had for them. Amanda picked Maryland because it was her birth place; Emily chose Pennsylvania because family members live there; their mother, Lynne, decided on Idaho because she was born there.

At 9:30 p.m. on the Fourth of July, the flags will be held across the Longley Bridge as fireworks explode overhead. The Fullers will be there – holding their flags – and paying tribute to the nation.

“I want them to grow up with a sense of pride for where they live,” said mother Lynne Fuller.

More than 100 spectators and volunteers participated in the Liberty Festival ceremonies Thursday evening. Nick Knowlton, master of ceremonies, began the evening with “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The procession of veterans and civil heroes included members of the Franco-American Post 31, American Legion Posts 153 and 22, Marine Corps League and the Lewiston Police Department.

Pride is an understatement for how Sandra McGill felt when watching her daughter, Lindy McCallum, carry the POW-MIA flag during the color guard presentation.

“I volunteered to be part of the color guard because I’m proud to represent my country,” said McCallum, a disabled Navy veteran. “If it wasn’t for my disability, I’d be back.”

Guest speaker Charles W. Plummer, a veteran of the Korean War from the American Legion Post 55 in Lisbon Falls, addressed the crowd about the Declaration of Independence, the evolving definition of liberty and Old Glory.

“You and I know that liberty and freedom isn’t free and that remains true today. As in the past, there are ruthless dictators, tyrants and terrorists around the world today who would like to see our democratic way of life fail but we are too resolute a people to let that happen,” he said.

Portions of an essay written by Bobby Guerette, a recent graduate of Edward Little High School, were also read during the ceremony. Guerette was presented with a $500 scholarship for an essay he wrote about the future state of independence in America.

Liberty Festival events and activities will continue Friday in Veterans Memorial Park and Festival Plaza. The 2nd Annual L/A Riverfront Blues Fest will begin at noon and continue late into the night. Food, entertainment and games are also scheduled throughout the afternoon and evening.

Main Street in Auburn will be closed from Court Street to Festival Plaza from noon until 11 p.m.



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