Veterans memorials in Maine.
4 Corners Veterans Memorial in Southern Aroostook County towns of Oakfield, Smyrna, Merrill, Dyer Brook, Maine. Statewide there are lots of them listing who served and died in the protection of freedom. The number of older veteran monument style honor rolls remind you just how big a place in history the service and sacrifice is given by the locals. Families, friends, local heros from your home town in Maine is a big deal.
Small Maine communities treat their veterans very special.
Big statutes from civil war era, streets lined with American flags, fund raising and construction of veterans honor rolls listing familiar family names. All part of the landscape as you tool around a small Maine community. Maybe Maine’s older population is part of the increased honor and respect. Maine families all have someone who served a hitch or two in the armed forces for Uncle Sam. The local American Legions, the Veterans of Foreign Wars outposts for veterans to do good service work also helps keep the spirit alive.
The loss of a community member in a war or conflict far from home is felt harder due to the tight knit fabric of small Maine towns.
The connection is stronger, deeper and folks are more connected when the community depends on its members to comfort each other.
Saturday I took the time to stop and study one new “Four Corners” veterans memorial tribute.
Built near the corner of several Northern Maine town lines, the towns of Oakfield, Smyrna, Merrill and Dyer Brook rallied the troops. To organize, plan, fund raise and put the dream into action. Large black granite walls of veteran’s names lined up in formation. Standing perfectly straight up and down covering all the branches of the armed services. Plus remembering the missing in action, even paying tribute to the Spanish American war.
Those that died while serving, all the names from four towns in Northern Maine chiseled top to bottom to study.
World Wars, peace time service, the Civil War, Merchant Marines, MIA’s, all the branches of the armed services are presented. While the flutter of several flags happens overhead in the background. I remember the experience taking the family into the USS Arizona in Hawaii and recalled no one talks. No one whispers. You slowly move into the chamber where lists of those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor cover the marble walls. Plus with a twist.
After you study the veteran names and move side to side something clicks.
Wait a minute. Dates for death inscribed that are not December 7th, 1941 appear in your field of vision. You process the down low 2008, 2012, etc names of veterans who died later.
Veterans who their service, competed their tour and stayed alive until the end of the war.
Then one by one the survivors of that surprise Sunday morning attack return. To the place that brought our country into war with Japan and have their remains capsuled an d names added to the scrolls at the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii monument. Survivors of that historic day lived to eventually return to the watery grave with their ship mates.
The Four Corners Memorial also has paved in the walkway as you enter the veterans monument.
More personal family tributes and listing the advertising local community supporters from individuals and business members. I recognized lots of names from the local monument and was proud in my home town my Dad, Uncle Fred, two brothers, lots of cousins appear on that Veterans monument behind the Cary Library.
My Dad was a tail gunner in a B-24 Liberator four engine bomber plane flying missions over Germany during World War Two.
His home away from home was an Army tent with a gas heater and each morning there were briefings at sunrise on where the daylight bombing run would entail today. What the targets were and what if weather does not cooperate. Then what, where to divert for secondary targets to avoid the civilian population losses?
This Four Corners monument was a smart approach so each town did not struggle with the fundraising but joined forces.
Collectively worked out the details of the engineering involved with earthwork, buying the materials at the best price, lining up the contractors through a bid process. Lots of free help and aid to construction of materials happens in small Maine towns too. The local towns people feel connected to any project that benefits and represents the community. Home town proud.
These memorials for veterans not a case of someone write a check and here we go. All in and all done.
No no, it’s a long process to decide where to put it. How to pay for it, to get the locals rallied around the project and to pull off the fund raising. Getting all the names, from died in combat, missing in action, prisoners of war, etc. Don’t leave anyone out or mess up the spelling. Big project to get it right and be respectful to honor the living and deceased veterans of Maine communities.
The Four Corners Veterans Memorial makes you think about raises and lowers the flags or replaces them when it’s time.
There is power to light the memorial monument, grass to keep trimmed, spring raking for winter road sanding to do. Planting flowers and keeping them watered. Respect is what you feel and take the time to stop and study your local Maine veterans monuments. Or get behind efforts to raise funds to erect one if it is missing. To restore one that has been neglected along with veteran sections of local cemeteries scattered around Maine that come in all sizes.
Remember the veterans who served.
If more people served, maybe more respect for veterans would happen. Giving some, giving all. It helps increase patriotism, nationalism for the red, white and blue we all hail from no matter what political persuasion or views. Everyday is Veteran’s Day if the sacrifice is not allowed to fade and lose importance. I know as a kid, we visited family graves and it was respectful, not morbid. You saw the rows and rows off straight as an arrow white crosses. Each marked with who served, where, what rank, maybe what battalion or group.
Veteran friendly and appreciative towns, more than a painted plywood sign rider on the welcome to town announcement of where you are in Maine. Thank you veterans in my home town, county, state, country and beyond that fought for freedom. Some gave their live for freedom, the ultimate sacrifice.