On Flag Day, June 14, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3108 of Belfast held a special ceremony at the Post to properly retired worn/torn American flags by using the approved burning process. The ceremony started with a special prayer by Senior Pastor Michael Horton of Faith Temple Church in Belfast. Post Commander Anthony Kimble called all to attention to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The playing of “Taps” was then followed by a period of silent reflection. Others who participated in the ceremony included World War II veteran Carmine A. Pecorelli and veterans Jim Roberts, Bill Pollock and Joy Asuncion. Thank you to everyone in the community who brought flags to be properly retired.

Women’s Armed Services Integration Act.

Seventy years ago on June 12, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act to enable women to serve as permanent, regular members of the Armed Forces in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and the recently formed Air Force. Passage of the law was led by then-Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith.

The U.S. Army’s 243rd birthday

Following is a letter from Easterseals Maine and Veterans Count Maine:

Two hundred forty-three years ago today, June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress, at the urging of John Adams from Massachusetts (of which Maine at the time was a part), allocated $2 million to form 10 companies of riflemen from across the colonies to support militias that were already engaged with British forces around Boston and New York.

This day has been recognized as the founding of the U.S. Army. Gen. Washington took command of our Army the following day, with orders from Congress to “take charge of the Army of the United Colonies.” On that day, nearly 15,000 men became the first in a long line of patriots to call themselves American Soldiers.

Today our Army is over a million strong with men and women from across the country serving in locations across the globe. They perform missions that are as diverse as the backgrounds of the men and women who perform them. When they return home they suffer issues that are increasingly complex; PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, homelessness, and suicide are just some of the issues facing veterans across our country and here in Maine.

In his farewell orders to the Continental Army, Gen. Washington told his troops to ‘carry with them into civil society the most conciliating dispositions’ and to ‘prove themselves not less virtuous and useful citizens than they have been persevering and victorious as soldiers.’ At Easterseals and Veterans Count we believe that together, we can work to seek a society in which every veteran is included and valued for who they are, for what they have given, and most importantly what they have left to give.

We know that every veteran is capable of leading a successful life. Some need a hand up to get there and we can’t do it without your support ― with every success story, there are two more veterans walking in the door.  As our successes grow, so does our need. These are hard problems, but they are solvable problems.

Please visit vetscount.org/maine to learn how you can be part of the solution.

Happy 243rd birthday to the U.S. Army ― “This We’ll Defend!”

Joe Reagan

Senior Director of Development

Easterseals Maine & Veterans Count Maine

Operation Welcome Home

Honor Flight Maine invites you to join us Sunday, June 24, at 1 p.m. at the Portland Maine Jetport as we welcome home World War II and Korean veterans from their free trip to Washington, D.C., to see their national memorials built in their honor for their service and sacrifice for our freedoms. Parking is free ― please follow the signs that will direct you to a parking lot reserved for Honor Flight Maine. Once you park, you will be taken by shuttle bus to the terminal for the event. If you park in the airport parking garage, please bring your parking ticket with you to be stamped so you will not be charged for parking.

For additional information on Honor Flight Maine, please visit our website at honorflightmaine.org or contact Joy Asuncion at 930-5640. We are actively seeking your assistance to help find Maine World War II veterans for our October flight.  In addition, Korea and Vietnam veterans are encouraged to submit applications online or call for one to be mailed to you.

Rally in the Valley country music concert with Craig Morgan

Balsam Valley Amphitheater is excited to announce its “Rally In The Valley” concert, sponsored by Wreaths Across America, on Saturday, July 14, from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. The concert features a night of country music with Craig Morgan with his chart-topping songs like “International Harvester,” “What I Love About Sundays,” “Redneck Yacht Club” and “Almost Home.”

Veterans and active duty service men and women are always free. Tickets can be reserved at balsamvalley.com.  Balsam Valley Amphitheater is located on Champion Road, Columbia Falls.

Joy Asuncion, U.S. Navy-retired, is an Honor Flight Maine Board Member, Maine State Ambassador for the Women in Military Service for America, and a Maine Troop Greeter.  Joy can be reached at 930-5640 or joyasuncion@roadrunner.com.