This year’s Veterans Day Celebration was extraordinarily special. Today marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One and that good news was something to celebrate. – back then and today; “the war to end all wars.”
“This is the happiest day of my life,” said Leo Foisy, 95, to the crowd gathered at City Hall Plaza just before noon today. The Grand Marshall of today’s parade, he was among the first to invade North Africa, (Casablanca) and received numerous medals including a Purple Heart. He was born in Massachusetts and served on many ships. While serving on the USS Monticello he was severely injured and in 1945 he was discharged. Mr. Foisy received a Hero’s Greeting at city hall plaza. His wife is from Portland and that’s why he moved here.
Mayor Ethan Strimling addressed the smallish crowd from the top step of city hall saying that although we just experienced a blue wave, “today is a bipartisan day.” The Mayor went on to issue a plea to “anyone out there who needs help, please ask.” He grew up in a generation that often held veterans with disdain. “I am sad that I grew up in that environment.” He described his “wake-up call” a few years ago in a moving admission.
“This year has special meaning because a hundred years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the Great War – the war to end all wars – finally ended. Originally created in recognition of the end of World War One, the first Veterans Day was observed on November 11, 1921 at Arlington National Cemetery and was marked by the burial of the Unknown Soldier from World War One. A 100 years later we have thousands of men and women in our military serving because they know it is necessary for the greater good,” said Steve Sanpedro. “….For every single man and woman who has donned a US military uniform, by virtue of their service and sacrifice, today is their day to stand tall and be recognized by a grateful nation….we don’t need days like this to thank a veteran because every day should be Veterans Day!” Steve finished.
Local historian Herb Adams said that when he “war came to an end, impromptu parades started” all over the city. His special historical remarks will become available at the Maine Historical Society at a later date.
The Harold Andrews Post hosted this event. Harold Andrews was the first Mainer to die in World War One.
Just before taps were played, the names of each of the 67 men from Maine who gave their lives in World War One were read – with the ringing of a bell following each name.
For more background information, please see post herein dated November 10, 2018.