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Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery packed for Flag Raising Ceremony

CARIBOU, Maine — Cars lined the Lombard Road as veterans and their families came out to Caribou’s Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery on May 14 to honor the area’s fallen servicemen.

NMVC Board Chairman Harry Hafford led the 11 a.m. ceremony by informing guests that the 30 flags being raised that day — 29 for specific veterans and one for all deceased veterans — would be flown through Veterans Day. Those flags raised for specific veterans will then become available to the family members or organizations involved, he said.

During his invocation, Father David Cote spoke of honoring those who “courageously gave themselves in battle.”

Sam Collins raises a flag in honor of his father, Don Collins, a World War II Veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, during the May 14 flag raising ceremony at the Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery in Caribou. (Christopher Bouchard)

“Each day, flags are proudly flying above this final resting place of our own cherished veterans,” Cote said. “May we be stirred once again by the beauty and justice of the cause to which they so courageously dedicated themselves. This we ask in your holy name, Amen.”

Hafford thanked Cote and joked that he forgot to thank God for the weather, which was in the low 70s, referencing the Veteran Cemetery’s 2016 flag raising ceremony in which Caribou received some surprise snow in mid-May.

Vicki King and the Caribou High School Choir then performed the National Anthem, and Hafford said that the first flag, raised by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ local staffer Phil Bosse, would be flown for all deceased veterans, and the following 29 flags would be raised in honor of specific veterans.

Phil Bosse, who manages U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ Caribou office, raises a flag for all deceased veterans during a May 14 flag raising ceremony at the Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery.
(Christopher Bouchard)

“This flag was donated by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in memory of all deceased veterans,” he said, adding that it previously had been flown over the nation’s capital.

One flag, Hafford said, was dedicated to the late John Noble, who dedicated much of his money, time, and resources to the Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery.

“I’d like to remind everyone that John and [wife] Joyce Noble donated the land for this cemetery site,” Hafford told guests. “John was also a valued advisory member of the Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery Corporation since we started, and until he passed. “I’d just like to say that over all those years John donated money and many in-kind services to help our here in the cemetery. Joyce, thank you on behalf of John.”

To close the ceremony, VFW Commander Roger Felix gave the order for all 30 flags to be raised simultaneously and the Madawaska American Legion Post 147 Legion Riders gave a 21 gun salute.

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