Members of the Lewiston High School Air Force JROTC program carry the flag down Main Street in Auburn during Monday’s Memorial Day Parade. To watch a video of the parade from the street to the skies visit sunjournal.com Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

AUBURN — People greeted veterans, shook their hands and thanked them for their service during Memorial Day festivities in the Twin Cities on Monday.

“It’s been a very emotional day for me,” said Normand Cote, treasurer of the L/A Veterans Council, which sponsored the parade for both cities and the ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston. “When they talk about all the people that died — I was in Korea. I was a Navy diver. We came upon a ship that was hit by artillery shore batteries. We were the first ones to get there, and you don’t forget that.”

“It’s wonderful!” Ron Beedy of Turner, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam, said as he watched the parade. “It’s important for us veterans but for everybody, too. It’s all too easy with the lifestyle we enjoy to forget the blood we shed to make us what we are.”

The ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park focused on those who have served and sacrificed their lives.

“I was in the service during the Korean War,” said Cecile Burgoyne, 91, of Auburn, who played taps. “People say, ‘Thank you for serving.’”

The Community Credit Union float heads across the Longley Bridge from Auburn to Lewiston during Monday’s parade. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

People waving flags lined streets in downtown Auburn to honor veterans and celebrate the city’s 150th birthday. Members of the Auburn Fire and Police Departments led the parade, followed by the Roar of Androscoggin marching band and color guard.

Others were the Kora Shriners with motorbikes and classic cars, Stumpy the Clown in a tiny car towing a stuffed mouse, marchers handing out candy, schoolchildren, Marshall’s popcorn truck, vintage fire engines and Revolutionary War re-enactors.

“I like that we got to wave flags. …” said Zenon Marris, 9, who participated with his school group.

“It was awesome to walk down Main Street, and everyone is smiling. It’s a great way to celebrate Auburn,” said Stephanie Marris, who represents the Auburn School Department on the 150th Anniversary Committee, which helps plans the various events marking the occasion. “It makes a big town feel like a small town when everybody comes out for a parade.”

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, left, and other dignitaries pause while taps is played during Monday’s Memorial Day ceremonies at Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston.

Under a clear sky, the parade made its way from Mill Street to Great Falls Plaza before crossing Longley Bridge to Veterans Memorial Park on Main Street for a ceremony to honor those who have served in the military and sacrificed their lives.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, walked in the Auburn Memorial Day parade and delivered the keynote address at Veterans Memorial Park.  The parade, which was part of Auburn’s yearlong 150th anniversary celebration, was the largest Memorial Day parade in Maine this year, according to the city.

“Here in Lewiston and Auburn, and throughout America, we gather today to express our gratitude,” Collins said. “In countless villages, small towns, and big cities, we raise our voices in song and bow our heads in prayer in honor of those who gave their all for all of us. As we do these things, we are reminded that freedom is a gift purchased at the greatest possible price.”

She said it’s also a day to honor those who served and returned home, and those who serve today.

“And while we thank our men and women in uniform for their sacrifices and contributions, we also thank the families – the husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and mothers and fathers – who endure the separation, the anxiety, and, at times, the grief that are also part of freedom’s price.”

According to information from Collins’ office, officials Monday unveiled the 31st granite monument at Veterans Memorial Park honoring more than 200 Lewiston-Auburn servicemen. A new bench from the Douglass family was also unveiled to honor Shingo Douglass, who died aboard the USS Fitzgerald in 2017 when it collided with a cargo ship off the coast of Japan. Douglass’ grandfather is a past commander of the Auburn VFW and serves on the L&A Veterans Council.

“We had a great turnout today,” said Jerry DeWitt, chairman of the L/A Veterans Council.

 

The Memorial Day Parade winds its way around downtown Auburn on Monday.

The Memorial Day Parade crosses into Lewiston from Auburn, left, Monday morning in this three photo composite image. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham


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