A Veterans Day service was held at the World War I Memorial Arch in Farmington Thursday, Nov. 11. Area scouts and veterans salute after placing a wreath at the monument. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

REGION — Ceremonies were held in Farmington and Wilton Thursday, Nov. 11, to honor veterans and thank them for their service.

A contingent of youth from area scout programs were among those attending the Farmington observances. Some were called on to participate while others waved small American flags or proudly held their troop banner aloft.

Youth and leaders from local scout troops are seen during a Veterans Day program at Meetinghouse Park in Farmington. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

The color guard for Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 presented the American, Maine and Legion flags, prayers were given, wreaths placed at monuments, taps played and speeches given.

Veterans Day observances were held in Farmington Thursday, Nov. 11. Pictured from left at the World War I Memorial Arch are Farmington Town Manager Christian Waller, Rep. and Farmington Selectman Scott Landry, Gov. Janet T. Mills, Franklin County Commissioner Terry Brann and Sen. Russell Black. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“Free agency, or the ability to choose for ourselves is a gift given by God to each human being,” Farmington Town Manager Christian Waller said at the World War I Memorial Arch in Farmington. Thomas Jefferson once wrote ‘The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood patriots’, he noted then added, “I am grateful for all those patriots who chose to fulfill their oath.”

Armistice Day, celebrated on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour marks the cessation of conflict between the Allies and the German army in the Great War, the war to end all wars, Rep. and Farmington Selectman Scott Landry said.

“In 1954 it was renamed Veterans Day to honor the veterans of the Armed Services,” he noted.

Landry spoke of a recent event he attended with Congressman Jared Golden and Staff Sgt. Travis Mills. “Their work is in the national spotlight, but there are many unsung heroes amongst us,” he said. “Many of you count them among your family and friends … and I am proud that so many people who have served our country call Maine home.”

It is important to take time to recognize those who have given so much in defense of the freedoms we enjoy, Sen. Russell Black of Wilton said at Meetinghouse Park.

“The men and women of our armed forces shoulder the great burden and responsibility of keeping us safe in an ever changing, dangerous world,” he noted. “When called upon, they sacrifice the safety of their homes, the presence of their loved ones and the comforts of the American life they are called to protect.”

“I am thinking this morning about the 109,000 veterans living in our state today — more than 8 percent of our population — one of the highest number of veterans per capita of any state in the nation,” Gov. Janet T. Mills said. “We have always given to a larger extent than any other state.

“Today we want to thank all veterans,” she noted. “We also thank their families as well as the individual heroes who have served our country. We are surrounded by veterans and brave survivors of so many wars and conflicts. They deserve our gratitude every day.”

In Wilton similar ceremonies were held at the Lions Club hall, the former American Legion Post.

Korean War veteran Harold Beisaw salutes after placing a wreath at the World War II monument Thursday, Nov. 11, during Veterans Day services in Wilton. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Names of Wilton men and women who have or are serving in the military were read by Rep. Randall Hall of East Dixfield. While not all Wilton veterans were included, 93 names were shared.

“We honor the men and women of our armed forces past and present that took the oath of enlistment to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Black said. “We honor them also because they represent what is best about America — the ability when called upon in times of need for ordinary people to do extraordinary things.”

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