Veterans saluted with flag, quilt, valor
THOMASTON — Navy Vietnam Veteran John Coombs performed a very emotional coffin flag folding during the first “Salute to Veterans” ceremony, Saturday, Oct. 20, in Thomaston.
The flag represented all the Veterans we have lost, according to event chair Sandy Moore. But this particular flag was the actual flag that was draped over the coffin of Navy Veteran Richard Moore, Vietnam.
Ron Gamage, from Orient # 15 Lodge of Masons, Thomaston, recited the meaning of the 13 folds, which starts with “our flag is a symbol of life.” The second fold signifies our belief in eternal life,” and continues until the flag is folded into a triangle.
The other end of the flag was held by Air Force Veteran Robert Moore, Vietnam, the twin brother of Richard.
“What a great day for the 130 Veterans, family and friends that attended,” said Sandy.
People from as far away as Massachusetts joined the Historical Society, American Legion, and others at Orient Lodge 15 of Masons to publicly recognize the people and their bravery with flags, quilts, and certificates.
The day started with music by Jo Anne Parker with the Midcoast Community Band as people came to honor and remember Veterans.
As the room filled up, the American Legion color guard, made up of six members from area posts, advanced the six flags by walking through the crowd and up the center isle to their stands.
Fran Hernandez and the Boy Scouts of Thomaston Troop 215 led the Pledge of Allegiance and saluted as the band played the National Anthem.
Donna Brooking, from Quilts of Valor Foundation, whose mission is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts, awarded seven quilts to area WWII and Korean War Veterans.
Peter Ogden, from the General Henry Knox Museum, awarded Citizens of Maine Appreciation Certificates and coins that represent the war era the Veteran served.
Joy Asuncion talked about the first-class trip to Washington D.C., sponsored by Honor Flights Maine, and how to get on board. American Legion Maine representative Maureen Malley talked of the benefits Veterans are entitled to.
At one point, Midcoast Community Band performed the U.S. Armed Forces Medley – Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marine.
As the music from each branch of service filled the room, the Veterans stood to represent their branch of service.
“The pride was so evident on everyone’s face,” Moore said.
At the end the American Legion color guard closed the ceremony by retiring the colors.
“We paid tribute to all military personnel, from every service branch, and every time period in American History,” she said.
“We are already talking about a second event next year.”
Sandy Moore, organizer/facilitator for “Salute the Veterans,” is part of the Thomaston Historical Society board and concentrates on Veterans.
Visit the Thomaston Historical Society Facebook page for pictures.