Celebrating National Military Appreciation Month

17 years ago

Not a day goes by that I do not think of the courageous men and women serving our nation bravely at home and overseas. Our armed service members serve nobly and selflessly to protect and defend our wonderful country while constantly risking their lives to secure a more peaceful and harmonious future for Americans nationwide.
    As the National Military Appreciation Month, the month of May is a time when our country can pay tribute to our military forces for their valor and dignity while serving the United States. During this month we celebrate Loyalty Day, VE Day, Military Spouse Day, Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. During the month of May citizens nationwide recognize and thank current armed forces serving in all branches of our military, along with military retirees, veterans and those men and women who have lost their lives defending our freedom.
Our country commemorated Armed Forces Day last week on May 19th and I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the events that took place throughout the state of Maine. Veteran groups in Lewiston held a public service at the Veterans Memorial Park that included the reading of all of Maine’s brave soldiers and military lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Fransco spoke about “Why We Serve” and about his military experiences overseas at an Armed Forces Day event at Hermon High School. There was an EchoTaps ceremony held at the National Cemetery at the Veteran facility at Togus. This was part of an American Legion nationwide effort of more than 2,000 musicians at veteran’s cemeteries across the country, all performing Taps at the same moment.
Memorial Day is a day of reverence and respect, honor and recognition, as we gather to draw strength and comfort from those who are with us and from the memories of those who are not. Mainers will celebrate Memorial Day on May 28th with parades and ceremonies all across the state. On this day, Camden will dedicate a monument to Camden residents who served in the Armed Forces during times of conflict. Ceremonies will be held on the Village Green in Camden.
I was also deeply moved to learn about the successful endeavor of Boy Scout Stuart Bost, 16, of Brewer, to erect a Veterans memorial in his town. He worked to raise the necessary funds to create this memorial, which includes a brick walkway, two stone benches, flag poles, flora and a memorial marker.
The Maine Troop Greeters are another perfect example of year round expressions of gratitude and admiration for our military personnel. All military that pass through the Bangor International Airport are greeted with smiling faces and words of thanks from these men and women, regardless of when their plane arrives. Daily displays of appreciation, such as those from the Maine Troop Greeters, are critical to maintaining high spirits and morale among our troops.
While I am very cognizant of this annual celebration of our military, it is paramount to recognize our military does not serve one day or month a year and therefore, neither should our appreciation and gratitude for their service. We must remember each day the men and women who are defending our Nation, here and around the world, guarding and protecting those freedoms we hold so dear. We must approach not only the holidays during National Military Appreciation Month, but everyday, with a sense of pride in our servicemen and women at home in Maine and around the United States.