Veterans Day is a federal holiday that marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, Nov. 11, 1918. Traditionally, people around the United States pause at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day for a moment of silence to honor active and retired members of the U.S. military, and most especially, those who have died in service to our country.

For Veterans of Foreign Wars Randall Collins Post 3108 of Belfast, Veterans Day 2022 also marks a “return to normalcy,” according to post Commander Jim Roberts, with the restoration of the post’s “Veterans in the Classroom” patriotism programs — traditional “Veterans Week” events that stopped when the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools. These include Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy essay awards to Waldo County middle and high school students, and the post-Halloween Great Candy Challenge.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, local VFW members will go to Unity to present a first place Patriot’s Pen Essay award of $100 to Hannah Cole, a sixth-grade student in the Ecology Learning Center’s Bridge Program (three days a week at ELC and two days home-schooled). The essay theme this year is “My Pledge to Our Veterans.”

Members of the VFW, American Legion Frank D. Hazeltine Post 43 and active duty Coast Guard in Belfast are invited for a veterans appreciation lunch Nov. 9 at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast.

On Thursday morning, Nov. 10, all area active and retired military are invited to a breakfast at Oceanside Middle School in Rockland.

That afternoon at 2:15 p.m., Roberts said, VFW members will go to Ames Elementary School in Searsmont to accept students’ donations in “The Great Candy Challenge.” In this program, students donate their Halloween candy to active duty service members through the VFW, competing to see which class collects the most. Students weigh, count and incorporate math lessons into the effort, and the VFW collects and sends the sweet bounty to troops overseas. Ames students typically collect and donate about 600 pounds of candy for active duty military.

While at Ames, VFW members will also recognize a pair of fifth graders who started a “mock election” for the elementary school. They will receive a plaque honoring their patriotism and and support for democracy.

All local veterans are invited to an appreciation breakfast Friday morning organized by Searsport Scouts at the Community Center on Prospect Street from 6 to 10 a.m. The meal is free for all veterans, and by donation for community members who wish to attend. All are welcome. The Scouts have thank-you gifts for veterans and are planning a small ceremony.
On Friday, Nov. 11, at 10:30 a.m., members of the VFW, with assistance from VFW Teacher of the Year Briana Brennick and state Sen. Chip Curry will present Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy essay awards to winners in a ceremony at Belfast Area High School.
Patriot’s Pen winners from Troy Howard Middle School are first place, Glenn Bitely, $100; second place, Alaina Glidden, $75; third place, Kamynn Wadsworth, $50; and fourth place, Rose White, $25.
Winners in the high school Voice of Democracy contest are first place, Matthew Bruns of BAHS, with an award of $500, and a tie for second place between Julia Richards of Mount View High School and Danielle Hicock of BAHS, both of whom won $250. This is Danielle’s third VFW essay contest win — in prior years she took first and second place awards.
The Voice of Democracy Essay theme this year was “Why Is the Veteran Important?”
Belfast parade
Following essay award presentations, the annual Veterans Day parade will step off from the high school at 11 a.m., following a flag-marked route downtown to the waterfront. There Pastor Art Fairbrother of Faith Temple Church of God in Belfast will conduct a brief ceremony with a prayer, followed by a 21-gun salute and “Taps.”
Participating in the parade will be members of the VFW and American Legion, Coast Guard, police and fire departments, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and the essay winners.
On both Friday and Saturday, VFW members will distribute traditional poppies and conduct a boot drive at Renys Plaza in Belfast in the area of Bangor Savings Bank and Bell the Cat restaurant. Donated monies go to the VFW’s Relief Fund to help veterans struggling with groceries, winter fuel, gasoline or emergency services.
On Sunday, veterans will be honored at Faith Temple Church’s annual Veterans Day service beginning at 9 a.m. Belfast VFW’s color guard will present the colors.

In other area observances, a ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. Friday in the Stockton Springs Town Square, followed by refreshments at the Jerry Dobbins American Legion Hall in Sandy Point. In Brooks, the First Congregational Church’s bell will ring at 11 a.m. in honor and in memory of all veterans.