FARMINGTON — As the clock at the Franklin County Courthouse chimed 10 times Monday morning, people gathered along the streets downtown for the annual Memorial Day parade.

During services held at the American Legion Roderick-Crosby Post 28, prior to the parade, guest speaker Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton, reminded the more than 50 listeners that it is “too easy for the true meaning of Memorial Day to get lost in the excitement of a long weekend, parades, barbecues and in Maine, the beginning of warmer weather.” 

“It is our chance to remember and say thank you … to those who served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said. “Without them, we would not be free to celebrate any other holiday.”

But, Saviello focused his message on those who did not come home from military assignments and are still missing.

He reminded listeners of Rangeley’s own Neil Taylor, who had been missing in Vietnam for 50 years. The town turned out to welcome the remains of  the hero home and celebrate Lt. j.g. Neil Brooks’ life in 2015.

During World War I, about eight million men surrendered and were held in prisoner of war camps until the war ended, Saviello said. An estimated 1,070,000 Italians were held in German prisoner of war camps during World War II. About 130,000 Americans were POWs in that war.

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There are 73,000 U.S. military personnel from WWII still missing in action, about 7,750 are unaccounted for from the Korean War and 1,611 from Vietnam, Saviello said.

He quoted U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, a Vietnam POW for seven years: “‘The bottom line is every single faithful veteran, whether they are alive, no longer with us, a POW or MIA, deserves our utmost respect and support.'”

On this 149th Memorial Day, Saviello urged those present to not forget “that the rights and freedoms we so often take for granted in this country are still under attack, both on our soil and abroad, which is why it is just as important now as it ever has been to recognize the brave men and women who put their on lives on the line daily to protect this great land that we all love so much.”

The observance, sponsored by American Legion Post 28 in Farmington, started earlier with a wreath placed at the World War I memorial, followed by the service led by Post Adjutant Peter Tracy.  Prayer was given by Post Chaplain Langdon Adams, and Legionnaire James Harris sang the national anthem.

A wreath was placed at the post memorial before the parade. The parade stopped while wreaths were placed at WWII, Civil War and Vietnam memorials in Meetinghouse Park and at Center Burying Ground on Anson Street.

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Legionnaire David Targett prepares to lay a wreath at Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 Hall in Farmington on Monday with the color guard behind him. Behind him are, from left, Horace Labree, Stephan Bunker, Matthew Smith, Charles Bennett and Robert Hallman (behind Bennett). 

The color guard for Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 in Farmington leads a Memorial Day parade up Main Street on Monday. The color guard includes Stephan Bunker in front with the American flag followed by Horace Labree, Matt Smith, Charles Bennett and Bob Hallman.

Legionnaire David Targett salutes after placing a wreath at Center Burying Ground in Farmington on Monday. The Memorial Day parade stopped to lay wreaths at memorials in Meetinghouse Park and the graveyard behind the Franklin County Courthouse. James Harris, left, sang “God Bless America.”

Fred O. Smith lays a wreath at the Civil War memorial in Meetinghouse Park in Farmington on Monday. The parade, sponsored by the Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 of Farmington, stopped at the park on Main Street and the Center Burying Ground on Anson to lay wreaths.


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