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Vets Cemetery plans Memorial Day salute

CARIBOU, Maine — A Memorial Day ceremony on May 28 at the Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery in Caribou will honor the lives of soldiers lost during combat.

The event will begin at 1 p.m. and will feature Gregory LaFrancois, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and CEO of The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle, as the keynote speaker.

Harry Hafford, Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery board chairman, said LaFrancois has three sons, one who just returned from active duty in Afghanistan, another who recently graduated from the University of North Dakota, and another who is a junior in Presque Isle High School.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins delivered a moving speech about the sacrifice of American veterans during a May 29, 2017 Memorial Day event at the Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery in Caribou. (File photo)

Gregory Daniels, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired Presque Isle police officer, will be the master of ceremonies. Hafford said Daniels has been on the cemetery committee for about a year and a half and this is his first time overseeing a ceremony at the facility.

The Memorial Day event will also feature speeches from Hafford as well as Phil Bosse, Sharon Campbell, and Monica Hewitt, who respectively represent U.S. Senator Susan Collins, U.S. Senator Angus King, and U.S. Congressman Bruce Poliquin.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins delivered a moving speech about the sacrifice of American veterans during a May 29, 2017 Memorial Day event at the Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery in Caribou. (File photo)

Wendell Hudson is slated to perform both the national anthem and “Amazing Grace,” CPO Carl Smith will present Loring Job Corps Student Honor Guards and Pastor John DeFelice will give the invocation and benediction.

In Hafford’s words, it’s even more important now than it was in past decades to honor the lives of veterans who sacrificed for their country.

“The biggest thing is that these people made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation and they deserve our respect,” he said. “It’s even more important today than it was fifty years ago, because everyone in the service today is a volunteer. There’s no draft, so the people who stand up for our country now are doing it because they want to.

“It’s really important that we honor them, and all who were killed in action.”

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