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A debt we owe our veterans
RUMFORD -- At Veterans Day ceremonies Friday, people were reminded about the debt Americans owe to veterans.
In an address given in the Muskie Auditorium, guest speaker Kirk Thurston, commander of American Legion Post 24, noted that if you Google the word "national debt," you will see about 28.7 million sites. "But none about the debt that which America owes her veterans."
Thurston said warriors need advocates, which is why service organizations exist.
"Are we serving our veterans even half as well as they served us? Veterans have given us freedom and security. For that, we must appreciate them," he noted.
Thurston also noted, "Without our veterans, Americans would be speaking Russian, German or Japanese."
Master of ceremonies was Ron Theriault, U.S. Coast Guard. Through a lot of research, he made a presentation about the Korean and Vietnam wars and compared the difference of veterans in these wars from World War II, as well as the similarities.
Displaying a helmet used by the U.S. in the Korean War and another used in the Vietnam War, his point was to draw connection between WWII veterans and the Korean and Vietnam war veterans, and that they all are "brothers in arms."
He also announced this was the last year he was acting as master of ceremonies for this event.
Members of the Rumford Association for the Advancement of the Performing Arts (RAAPA) began the event with "Songs of the Soldier," and sang the closing prayer with "Let There Be Peace on Earth."
Five Mountain Valley High School girls sang the national anthem, and members of the school's band performed an Armed Forces salute through music.
Much of Theriault's presentation dealt with the Vietnam War. In keeping with that theme, several members of the Mountain Valley High School band, along with the Band Director Michael Prescott and MVHS Principal Matthew Gilbert, performed a song many veterans heard often during that war, "Born on the Bayou," by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Students taking part included Erich Zurhorst, Alex Witas, Jon Petrie, Tyler Smith, Nicholas Williams, Victoria Gordon and Ashleigh Milligan.
Performing the Missing Man presentation was the 37th Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. Joe Roberts, who has served for the past several years as commander for the Civil Air Patrol, announced his successor, Capt. Gary Brearley.
A flag folding ceremony was performed, with a description read about what each of the 13 folds mean.
Names were read of veterans in the River Valley who passed during the past year. This area lost a lot of veterans over the last 12 months.
Someone also took the time to wish one of the veterans in attendance, Al Richard, a happy 90th birthday.