PARIS — The principal of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School encouraged attendees of a public Veterans Day ceremony  to take more time to thank members of the military.

“All of our lives have been touched by a veteran or an active military member,” said Ted Moccia, the guest speaker at the annual ceremony held at the school.

Moccia said his stepfather had served in the Army, and his mother was welcomed into a veterans home later in her life. He said veterans are “motivated from within” to serve the country. He said that while members of the military do not actively seek adoration, their service often goes unappreciated.

“My challenge to everyone here today is to take the time to thank the servicemen and women for what they have done and what they are doing,” Moccia said. “Not just on Veterans Day, but every chance we get.”

Staffers Diane Jackson and Carlene Tremblay echoed the sentiment in statements from U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.

“Let us remember that we owe you boundless gratitude, not only on the 11th day of the 11th month, but every day of every year,” Jackson read from a statement by Snowe.

“We honor those who paid the ultimate price,” Tremblay said in delivering remarks from Collins. “We honor those who lived beyond their years of military service but have since passed on. And we honor those who are with us today. We owe you a great debt,” she read from the statement.

The ceremony also referenced recent tragic events from other areas of the country. The Rev. Don Mayberry of the First Congregational Church in Paris, delivered an invocation,  blessing military families as well as those injured in combat and those serving in Iraq or Afghanistan or about to deploy there. Mayberry also referenced the recent shooting at Fort Hood Army base in Texas, which left 13 people dead and dozens wounded.

“We ask special prayers for those that are grieving from the senseless act of violence in Fort Hood,” Mayberry said. “Bless and comfort them, we pray.”

Sen. Snowe’s statement also mentioned the shooting and said it demonstrated the importance of military families and veterans’ organizations in providing support for one another. “There is an undeniable sadness on this Veterans Day that prevails upon us as our nation mourns the horrendous and senseless act perpetuated at Fort Hood, Texas,” according to the release read by Jackson.

Both Jackson and Tremblay said the Republican senators from Maine were unavailable because they were attending the funerals of Ival “Bud” Cianchette, a World War II veteran and one of four founders of Cianbro Corp., and Marine Maj. Samuel Leigh of Belgrade, who was one of nine serviceman killed in a collision between two military aircraft on Oct. 29.

The event included performances by the high school band, a march of the color guard, and an original song by Vietnam veteran Al Pelletier. Gil Turner, former commander of the American Legion Post 72, served as master of ceremony.

“Never forget the people who served and gave their all,” Turner said.

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Gil Turner, master of the Veterans Day ceremony at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris, salutes the color guard Wednesday. Kyle Turner directs the high school band at left.

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