Veterans, from left, Lew Irish, Bill Scott, Marcel Martineau and Neil Arsenault, attend a Veterans Day ceremony Monday at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

MEXICO — Veterans from the River Valley region were honored Monday for their service and sacrifice to the cause of freedom.

The Veterans Day service at Mountain Valley Middle School included a remembrance of those missing in action and prisoners of war.

Joy Bordeau, left, chaplain of American Legion Post 24 in Rumford, and Charlie Green, commander of American Legion Post 100 in Dixfield, participate in a ceremony Monday to remember veterans missing in action and those held as prisoners of war. River Valley residents gathered at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico. American Legion Post 24 Commander Tricia Thurston also participated in the POW-MIA ceremony. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

Guest speaker Edward Roach, 93, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1641 in Rumford, said Veterans Day is … a day when all Americans should take time to consider the legacy of freedom and liberty that has been passed on to us. It is a day to think about the awesome responsibility that is ours and what it takes to maintain this land of the free, this home of the brave.

“We must do everything we can to make sure the men and women who serve in today’s and tomorrow’s military receive what they need to accomplish their mission of safeguarding America’s interests,” said Roach, whose son, Don, was master of ceremonies.

Leading with a prayer for veterans, American Legion Post 24 Commander Tricia Thurston asked that “Every veteran of our nation’s armed forces feel truly and appropriately honored. Let them be understood, healed and rewarded by the attention and appreciation of their fellow citizens.”

The commemoration for prisoners of war and those missing in action included a small round table with a red rose, an empty chair, and empty glass and plate, lemon and salt to signify their absence. The remembrance was led by Thurston, Chaplain Joy Bordeau and American Legion Post 100 Commander Charlie Green.

Scores of people attend a Veterans Day service at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico on Monday. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

“They are unable to be with us today and so we remember them,” Thurston said.

The Mountain Valley Middle School band and Rumford Association for the Advancement of the Performing Arts provided music, and retired Mountain Valley Middle School teacher Elaine Michaud led a sing-along.

After the ceremony, American Legion Post 24 in Rumford hosted a luncheon for veterans.

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