Veterans and community members gathered at the Lions Hall in Wilton to remember Veterans Day Monday, Nov. 11. Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal Buy this Photo

WILTON — Cool temperatures, spitting snow and a brisk wind greeted those who attended the Veterans Day service at the Lions Hall on Main Street Monday afternoon.

A restored Marine Jeep was on display near the monument.

Air Force Veteran Charles Tappan greeted everyone, then Wilton Congregational Church UCC Pastor Rev. David W. Smith gave a prayer.

Rep. Randall Hall (R-Wilton) spoke, first explaining the difference between Memorial and Veterans Day.

“Memorial Day is a special day to remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom,” he said in part. “Veterans day is a time to honor all who served our country.

“Our military men and women are parents, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors and coworkers…they are the fabric of our communities.”

Hall shared the following statistics:

  • 18.2 million living veterans in the United States
  • 9% of veterans are women
  • 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War
  • 3 million veterans have served in support of the War on Terrorism
  • 2 million veterans served during the Korean War
  • As of 2018, there were close to 500,000 World War II veterans alive out of the 16 million who served

“Maine has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the country,” Hall said. “The holiday began as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I. Veterans Day is also for ensuring that we never forget the price of freedom or take for granted what so many men and women have served for. Thank you veterans, past and present.”

The Maine State Police Color Guard presented the colors at the Wilton Veterans Day observance Monday, Nov. 11. Pictured from left are Jonathan Russell Troop B, Jacob Roddy Troop C, Tyler S. Plourde Troop D and Patrick Flanagan Troop B. Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal Buy this Photo

Maine State Police Color Guard members Jonathan Russell Troop B, Jacob Roddy Troop C, Tyler S. Plourde Troop D and Patrick Flanagan Troop B escorted Maine National Guard Brigadier General Dwaine Drummond of China, Maine to the World War II monument. Drummond placed a wreath then gave a few words.

“Thank you all for making this day more than just another holiday,” he said. “Your presence means the fire is still burning and that people still remember and are thankful for service to our nation.

“Today we remember the sacrifice and service of our men and women here and in far away lands, fighting for people who needed us to fill the breach, to lend a hand when sometimes no other would or could. We remember those who returned and sadly, those who did not.”

Drummond spoke of the time he stood with a friend outside his office at Camp Keyes discussing how to better coordinate goals.

“This guy was the best,” he said. “Someone I would go to for advice or to just talk sports. The next day I found myself at my desk in shock and in tears. Somehow my friend had collapsed and was gone instantly that day.

“He was a soldier’s soldier, a professional in every way and the best guy you can imagine. Some of you know that because he was one of yours.

“LTC Mike Backus, of Wilton, Mt. Blue and West Point was everything we should consider when we ask ourselves if we have done enough. I had the honor to be his military escort when he came home for the last time. I saw what he meant to the community.

“True service is given freely without consideration or strings attached. I hope our children and their children keep that fire burning. It isn’t what makes us Americans it’s what keeps us Americans.”

Western Maine Foothills Band Director Paul Harnden played Taps, the colors were retired and everyone adjourned to the hall for light refreshments and conversation.

Veterans and community members enjoyed light refreshments after the Veterans Day service at the Lions Hall in Wilton Monday. Pictured from left are Korean Veteran Harold Beisaw, King Lion Norman Crowley, World War II Veteran Cleon Fletcher and Emily Fletcher. Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal Buy this Photo

Maine National Guard Brigadier General Dwaine Drummond remembered Wilton Veteran Michael Backus during his remarks at the Veterans Day service at the Wilton Lions Hall Monday. Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal Buy this Photo

Rep. Randall Hall (R-Wilton) spoke at the Veterans Day service held at the Wilton Lions Hall Monday. Pam Harnden/Franklin Journal Buy this Photo


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