AUGUSTA — Maine Gov. Paul LePage and first lady Ann LePage will pay tribute to Maine’s veterans by joining hundreds of volunteers to place American flags on the gravestones of veterans over Memorial Day weekend.

Nearly 15,000 American flags will be placed in Maine Veterans’ Memorial cemeteries in Augusta, Caribou and Springvale beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release from LePage’s office.

The flag placements began in 2006 and is led by Army veteran Donald Simoneau every year.

“These flags represent the American freedom our veterans have preserved,” LePage said in a prepared statement. “They, and their families, sacrificed for the sake of liberty. We, and future generations, are forever indebted to them.”

The governor and first lady will attend special ceremonies in Augusta at Maine Veterans’ Memorial cemeteries on Civic Center Drive and Mount Vernon Road. Volunteers are encouraged to gather at the top of the hill at 9 a.m. near the flag pole for a brief ceremony and instructions on how to properly place each flag on the grave markers.

Additional ceremonies will take place Saturday at the Northern Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at 37 Lombard Road in Caribou and the Southern Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at 83 Stanley Road in Springvale.

“I can safely say that from all I have seen across this state and this country, Americans deeply respect the sacrifices our service members make to protect the things and the people they love,” Ann LePage said, also in a prepared statement. “It is a respect that is removed from age, gender or politics and unites us as a nation. On this Memorial Day, we remember our veterans who are no longer with us and honor their spirit with the American flag.”

On Monday, the first lady will attend a 2 p.m. Maine Veterans’ Memorial Day ceremony at the Maine Veterans’ Cemetery on Mount Vernon Road in Augusta. Gov. LePage will deliver remarks at a special 50th Vietnam anniversary commemorative event in Windham on Memorial Day. The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. at the Windham Veterans Center, 35 Veterans Memorial Drive.

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