On Friday, Sept. 11, Wreaths Across America calls for every American to stand outside and wave a flag for one minute at 8:46 a.m. and then again at 9:03 a.m.

Following the events of 9/11, three patriotic women (Elaine Greene, Joann Miller and Carmen Foote) were moved to find an old American flag they had stored at home and stand on a hill in Freeport, waving that flag to honor victims. These women became nationally known as “The Freeport Flag Ladies,” and proudly hoisted the Stars and Stripes every Tuesday morning for the following 18 years.

After they retired on Sept. 11, 2019 (their last 9/11 remembrance), the following Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, Wreaths Across America took the helm and continued the weekly flag waving tradition along Route 1 in Jonesboro, on land donated by the organization’s founder, Morrill Worcester, leading to the new Acadia National Cemetery.

Since that time Worcester has added a mile-long stretch of American flags (105 in total) on both sides of the road that lead to the entrance of Acadia National Cemetery, which opened to the public for the first time Aug. 29. Worcester also donated the land for this new National Cemetery to be built in his hometown.

“Each Tuesday, we are joined by dozens of members of the local community and curious people stopping to be part of something meaningful,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America, and wife of Morrill Worcester. “Especially over the last six months, this flag waving has taken on new meaning for us all and given a spark of hope and patriotism during this difficult time in our country.”

Participants are encouraged to take video and pictures of their participation in the national flag waving and share them with Wreaths Across America, their family and their friends to help "Remember, honor and teach" the generation born after Sept. 11, 2001, how hard times can strengthen us as a nation. Please use the hashtag #FlagsAcrosstheCountry and #AmericaStrong when posting on social media and tag the Wreaths Across America official Facebook page.

New resources to help veterans battling substance use disorder

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has approved building a new 24-bed program at the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta, Maine. The facility will provide residential substance use disorder rehabilitation and treatment. Construction of the facility will begin in 2021. It is scheduled to begin accepting patients in 2022.

More than one in 10 American veterans are diagnosed with substance use disorder and one in five veterans are estimated to have a mental health condition. Maine has one of the highest percentages of veterans of any state.