NEW GLOUCESTER – Hundreds flanked the annual Memorial Day parade route from Memorial School to the Veterans’ Memorial Park on Monday to honor and remember those who fought bravely and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect freedom for America.

Gold Star mothers Gwen Jordan and Sue Burrows laid a wreath at the monument at the park in Upper Gloucester village.

Members of the Color Guard of AMVET Post 6, Bill Green, Bill Kiley, Jeff Hamilton, Matt Garey and Al Green, raised the flag to half-staff in a solemn ceremony.

Along the mile-long parade route, both young and old raised flags passed along by others in a show of patriotism.

State Rep. Ellie Espling of New Gloucester said, “Memorial Day gives us that pause to memorialize and to pause to be introspective. We must keep that tradition alive,” she said.

State Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn talked about troops gathering at Capital Park in Augusta in the 1860s when the Legislature had a “serious discussion” to make the decision to send troops into the Civil War for the Union Army.

A total of 70,000 men from Maine served as soldiers and sailors in the Civil War.

The cost in American bloodshed and the cost to families were great, he said.

“I pray for the wisdom for our leaders in Washington when the cause is truly worthy,” Brakey said. “Let us never forget and remember the fallen and let them rest in peace,” he said.

Willie Danforth of Franco-American War Veterans Post 31 in Lewiston led the ceremony, saying, “Let us not forget our veterans. Protect those serving and remember the soldiers who gave their all. The price of freedom is not free.”

He said Maine has 13 soldiers who are prisoners of war/missing in action.

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