Women vets celebrated
AUGUSTA — Gov. John E. Baldacci celebrated Maine’s women veterans earlier this year at a ceremony to unveil the new Maine Women Veterans Memorial Plaque. The plaque was designed as a result of a resolve passed by the 124tth Maine Legislature to create a permanent memorial to women veterans in the State House. The governor joined women veterans and supporters at a Statehouse reception to unveil the design and to begin the fund-raising effort to cover the $24,000 cost of the plaque.
“I am pleased to be here today to honor Maine women veterans and their continuing history of service to our nation,” said Gov. Baldacci. “Throughout Maine and U.S. history, the sacrifices of women veterans have been unimaginable. They deserve to have a place in the Statehouse to serve as a reminder of all of the contributions and the personal courage and dedication these women have exhibited.”
The plaque, sculpted by Gary Cooper of Fayette, depicts Maine women who served in the military over four centuries. State Rep. Linda Valentino sponsored the resolve to create the plaque and chairs the fund-raising committee along with the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services. The goal is to have the plaque dedicated in the Hall of Flags at the Statehouse on Veterans’ Day this November.
“For centuries women volunteered to fight, yet they were not officially recognized as veterans until the 1970s,” said Gov. Baldacci. “Maine currently is home to more than 10,000 women veterans. This number is not surprising, because caring for our neighbors and watching out for our community is what Mainers are all about.”
The Maine Veterans Homes, Rep. Valentino and a number of veterans groups contributed checks toward covering the cost of the plaque during the ceremony.
For information about contributing to the Memorial Fund, contact the Bureau of Veterans’ Services at 207-626-4464.