By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
This weekend we will be asked to stop and reflect upon the sacrifices endured by those who donned our country’s uniform.
For many who never served, Veteran’s Day is a holiday. Many have the day off to catch up on work around the house, to relax or recreate. Others are compensated handsomely for being required to come to work.
Many area veterans’ posts throughout Lewiston-Auburn and the surrounding area will be providing breakfasts and lunches at their posts, which will be open to all veterans and their families. These are not held as a “Welcome home, thanks for your service.”
They are held to give veterans a chance to meet and mingle with other veterans. They can talk openly about their experiences with other veterans who have similar experiences—without judgment from the listener.
Many times it becomes difficult to speak of one’s experiences to one who has never walked in your shoes. These organizations provide a warm and comforting atmosphere. An atmosphere of sincerity, not obligatory public theater.
There are many veterans who will not be participating in any activities this day. Their bodies are home, but their minds are stuck in some hell hole overseas, which causes them to continually relive horrific experiences. These experiences happened a few months to 60-plus years ago, depending on which conflict the veteran served.
If you know a former combat veteran who fits this description, there is help available to him or her.
The Vet Center on Westminster Street in Lewiston has been established by the government to help combat veterans readjust after returning home. They have a very helpful program, staffed with dedicated professionals. If you know someone who needs help, steer them to the center.
In addition, the center provides outreach for veterans who may be reluctant to seek services. I believe the greater majority of the veterans seeking help at the Vet Center will speak highly of the help they’ve been given.
On November 10 and 11, there will be many activities in Lewiston-Auburn designed to honor and thank veterans for their service. On Sunday, November 10, at the Colisée, there will be a salute to veterans starting at 5 p.m. This should be a gala event. Tickets are $20. Veterans showing a veteran’s ID card will be admitted free of charge.
On Monday, November 11, the Lewiston High School Cadets will be putting on their annual Veterans Breakfast starting at 7 a.m. in the school cafeteria. Later that morning, there will be a musical salute to our veterans at the Lewiston Armory on Central Avenue.
The day will conclude with a non-denominational spiritual service at Holy Family Church on Sabattus Street in Lewiston. For many veterans, this service has become the highlight of the day’s activities and attendance seems to increase each year.
Lastly, on November 12 at noon, a lunch will be hosted by the Auburn Exchange Club at Lewiston High School’s Green Ladle Restaurant. This is open to all veterans.
On Sunday, November 10, Marines throughout the world will celebrate the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Happy Birthday, Marines. Semper Fi!