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May 28, 2016

In Honor of Memorial Day, King Commemorates America’s Fallen Servicemembers

King this morning marched in Lewiston-Auburn Memorial Day parade and will also attend Vietnam Memorial event at Knox Museum this afternoon

Memorial Day Weekend 1LEWISTON, ME – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today marched in the Lewiston-Auburn Memorial Day Parade and delivered remarks honoring Maine and America’s fallen service-members at a dedication ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston. Senator King also released the following statement in honor of Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service:

“Today, we gather together in Maine and across the United States to remember those sons and daughters who fell in the service of our Nation, and to remind ourselves of the eternal debt we owe them. The tradition of gathering to lay flowers and wreaths at the resting places of fallen servicemembers began over 150 years ago during the Civil War – a period when our unity as a Nation was most tested. Since that time of great discord, this tradition has remained a unifying ritual to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. While these brave men and women may no longer walk amongst us, it is through our acts of remembrance that their memory will endure, inspiring us to live each day in gratitude to their heroism.

“We also take this moment as a reminder to remain vigilant in the ongoing defense of our country. To honor those who gave their lives in service to America, we must renew our commitment to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coastguardsmen who continue to protect us across the globe. With ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, their willingness to answer the call of duty deserves our unflagging appreciation.

“To honor our fallen men and women in uniform, we must also fulfill our promise to support their fellow servicemembers who have returned home and those who continue to serve. In 1879, Joshua Chamberlain best expressed this sentiment during a monument dedication in Boothbay. He stated, “In the shadow of this noble monument, on this beautiful day just drawing to a close let us renew our vow, be it ours to make our lives worthy of our dead.” Each day that I serve in the Senate, I am humbled by the deep gratitude and devotion the people of Maine show our state’s military personnel and veterans. Just this past month, I was honored to meet with the Disabled American Veterans at their convention in Bangor and tour the soon to open Betsy Ann Ross House of Hope for in-need women veterans and their children, which has received strong support from the local community.

“So, thank you for joining together in honoring those American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to secure the freedoms we enjoy. It is in their memory, and in gratitude to those who have served and continue to serve in the Armed Forces, that we all gather to celebrate Memorial Day. May God bless them and may God bless these United States of America.”

The ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston featured the dedication of the monument’s 28th stone, which will bear the names of 216 area veterans, including five members of Lewiston’s Desjardins family. Retired Major General Susan Desjardins also delivered remarks at the ceremony.

This afternoon, Senator King will also deliver remarks at an exhibition of the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall, which is on display throughout the weekend as part of the Knox Museum’s annual “Boots on the Ground” series. The exhibit features a half-scale model of Maya Lin’s original design of the Vietnam Memorial, which has traveled the country for Americans to see for more than 30 years. The wall is 252 feet long, stands 6 feet tall, and displays the names of 58,228 Americans who lost their lives in Vietnam – more than 340 of whom were from Maine.


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