November 10, 2017
INDIAN ISLAND, ME – In advance of Veterans Day, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today presented Charles Norman Shay with a flag flown over the United States Capitol. Mr. Shay is a Penobscot Tribal Elder and a veteran of World War II who served as a medic during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Prior to presenting the flag to Mr. Shay, Senator King participated in the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of the Maine Troop Greeters Museum at Bangor International Airport. The museum celebrates the Maine Troop Greeters, who have welcomed more than 1.5 million servicemembers flying through Bangor International Airport on the way to or returning from deployment.
“The service of Charles Norman Shay deserves our deepest gratitude, and the devotion of the Maine Troop Greeters remind us of the best way to express our appreciation,” said Senator King. “On June 6th, 1944, a 19-year old Charles Norman Shay stormed the beaches of Normandy as part of the first wave of the D-Day Invasion. Serving as a medic, he braved the treacherous seas and enemy fire to save several of his wounded comrades. Mr. Shay’s courage, commitment and ongoing leadership remind us that we cannot only honor veterans on a single day. Each and every day, we must rededicate ourselves to supporting veterans and their families, as the Maine Troop Greeters have done for more than two decades.”
Senator King presented the flag to Mr. Shay at his home on the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation. Mr. Shay was awarded a Silver Star for his service in Operation Neptune, and earlier this year the ‘Charles Shay Indian Memorial’ was dedicated in Normandy, France to honor of the service of Native Americans in World War II. After presenting the flag to Mr. Shay, Senator King met with members of the community on Indian Island.
The Maine Troop Greeters are a non-profit group who greet servicemembers arriving at Bangor International Airport, where many flights carrying military personnel stop while heading to or returning from deployment. The organization consists of volunteers who offer free cell phone use, snacks and support to those heading to or returning from overseas.
Senator King will continue to honor the service the men and women who have served in defense of our country tomorrow, when he will observe Veterans Day by joining Maine veterans and members of the community for a service at the Northern Maine Veterans’ Ceremony in Caribou. Senator King will provide keynote remarks and participate in the wreath laying ceremony at the cemetery. With the closest National Veterans’ Cemetery more than 450 miles away in Bourne, MA and the closest State Veterans’ Cemetery nearly 250 miles away in Augusta, the Northern Maine Veterans’ Cemetery is critical to providing continued service for the approximately 7,800 veterans and their families in Northern Maine.
Photo 1: Senator King presents Charles Norman Shay with flag flown over the U.S. Capitol
Photo 2: Senator King and Charles Norman Shay sitting together at Shay’s home
Photo 3: Charles Norman Shay welcomes Senator King to his home on the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation
Photo 4: Senator King with Charles Norman Shay and members of Shay’s family
Photo 5: Charles Norman Shay shows Senator King family photos and documents of significance from Shay’s life