Across Maine dedicated veterans, proud family members, students and concerned citizens are walking through fields planting flags, planning parades and making plans for community observances. Patriots all, these Mainers are getting ready to mark Memorial Day and remember the ultimate sacrifice that many have made to protect our liberties and way of life.
In Dennysville, a small town in easternmost Maine, the community is preparing for the town’s 147th annual Memorial Day Observance. A parade will commence at a local church and wind its way through town stopping at a cemetery and a memorial. Participants will sing patriotic songs, lay wreaths, offer prayers and read the names of deceased war veterans going back to the Revolutionary War.
In Lewiston, a massive volunteer effort that includes local veterans groups, the Knights of Columbus, scouts, motorcycle clubs and others ensures that the graves of 5,000 veterans across 13 city cemeteries get a flag for veterans day. The dedication of these volunteers ensures that every veteran is remembered and that every passerby gets a reminder of the importance of Memorial Day.
A day of remembrance and observance,Memorial Day is also a chance to teach the soldiers, sailors and citizens oftomorrow about honor, duty and sacrifice. Watching how my community celebrated our local heroes played a big role in my decision to attend West Point and dedicate my life to serving our country.
And so it can be for kids today.
As Attorney General, I am Maine’s top law enforcement officer. Everyday, I see stories of young people who have lost their way. I am also a parent and a disabled veteran who is convinced that the lessons of Memorial Day are some of the most important things we can teach young people.
Every parent, teacher, scoutmaster and any other person of influence in a young person’s life has an opportunity this Memorial Day to point to the flags at a cemetery and talk about what it really means to serve one’s country. You can take the time to attend a parade or an observance with a young person and make an impact that may well stick with them forever.
The work you do today may inspire a future member of the armed forces as it did for me when I was growing up. Sharing the lessons of Memorial Day will also give you a chance to teach patriotism to the next generation of productive, law abiding American Citizens.
This Memorial Day please take time to remember our deceased veterans and to honor their great service our nation. And please consider their great example for America’s youth and how honoring our fallen veterans can inspire future leaders to serve.
William J. Schneider
Maine Attorney General
U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1981
U.S. Army (Retired)