Richard Racine carries an Air Force flag at a Veterans Day ceremony at the Lewiston Armory on Monday morning. Each branch of the military had a flag bearer present their flag. Veterans of each branch of the service were invited to stand and be recognized. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Norm Cote has not missed a Veterans Day ceremony since 1953.

That’s 66 years.

Sitting in the front row Monday morning at the Lewiston Armory was Cote, seated with more than 150 friends and fellow veterans from every war since World War II. Cote, a Navy diver during the Korean War, would check the ships for damage below the surface of the water.

Joyce Richmond, left, and Bethel Shields from the American Gold Star Mothers carry the American Flag at the start of a Veterans Day Ceremony at the Lewiston Armory on Monday morning. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

For Cote, Veterans Day is an opportunity to give thanks to everyone serving or who has served in the armed forces, those “helping to keep America free,” he said.

The L/A Veterans Council, which Cote serves with, sponsored the Twin Cities’ Veterans Day celebration Monday morning at the Lewiston Armory. The ceremony featured dozens of color guard units and nearly 45 minutes of music by Patsy Cline, Rosemary Clooney, Kris Kristofferson and others from that era, the 1940s through the 1970s.

While Memorial Day pays tribute to members of the military who died during armed conflict, Veterans Day honors all who have served.

James Thibodeau plays the bagpipe to open the Veterans Day ceremony at The Lewiston Armory on Monday morning. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Emceed by L/A Veteran’s Council Director Jerry Dewitt, the ceremony began with a prayer, the national anthem and then a bagpipe player performing patriotic songs, including “America the Beautiful.”

A Salute to the Services proceeded the march around the audience by the various color guard units.

The color guard units included members of the local American Legion Posts, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AmVets, Gold Star Mothers, Honor Flight, Lewiston police and fire departments, and more than 20 members of the Lewiston ROTC.

“It was a real good crowd,” Dewitt said afterward. “But we’d like to see more people in the community come out.”

Also on display at the armory was a stock car that will compete around Maine starting next year. The green car is partially sponsored by the L/A Veterans Council, led by Rudy Wing.

Money raised with the stock car will be used to help distribute fresh food and vegetables to Togus and other veterans groups, Wing said.

Michael Lajoie carries the U.S. Navy flag at a Veterans Day ceremony at the Lewiston Armory on Monday morning. Each branch of the military had a flag bearer present their flag. Veterans of each branch of the service were invited to stand and be recognized. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Erik Noll carries the Army flag at a Veterans Day ceremony at the Lewiston Armory on Monday morning. Each branch of the military had a flag bearer present their flag. Veterans of each branch of the service were invited to stand and be recognized. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo


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