PARIS — Several hundred veterans, their families and friends gathered Wednesday morning for the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School to give thanks and honor military veterans.

“They signed a blank check for this country for everything they had up to and including their lives,” AMVETS Post 777 Commander Ron Snow of Norway said.

The 90-minute program was filled with music, laughter, solemn moments and gratitude for the dozens of military personnel who served during World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and the War on Terror since Sept. 11, 2001.

Gold Star Mother Wanda Kilgore of Norway, whose son Sgt. Corey A. Dan was killed in action in Ramadi, Iraq on March 13, 2006, was introduced. Kilgore attends the ceremony each year.

Sen. Jim Hamper of Oxford spoke about the Maine Legacy Project and urged veterans to participate in the program that will gather stories from Maine veterans across the state to keep in the State Archives. Some of the stories will go to the National Archives and Record Administration.

‘They want you to share your stories,” he told the veterans. He said the plan is to interview as many veterans in Maine as possible and make a “living” depository.


Rep. Tom Winsor of Norway talked about the suffering not only of the servicemen and women, but the families left behind.

Charlene Tremblay, who represented U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office, thanked the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Band, under the direction of Kyle Jordan, for its annual participation in the service. She said her grandfather was the first saxophone player in Gen. John J. Pershing’s Army band during World War I.

Rep. Kathleen Dillingham of Oxford also addressed the crowd.

Calling the veterans “a great big family,” keynote speaker retired Rear Adm. James Cossey of Bridgton, who spent more than 33 years in the U.S. Navy and retired in 1993, said the veterans will forever be tied together by their common experience.

“One person can make a difference,” he said. “You can make a difference.”

His assignments included work on a destroyer and minesweeper. He served on four nuclear submarines, including three years as commanding officer of the USS Snook.

The Rev. Don Mayberry of the First Congregational Church in Paris gave the invocation and benediction.

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