Veteran news

Honoring 'The Old Guard'

Aug 20, 2017
Photo by: Joy Asuncion The Old Guard Memorial Grove unveiling ceremony July 29 in Columbia Falls.

Wreaths Across America founders Morrill and Karen Worcester hosted an unveiling ceremony July 29 for “The Old Guard Memorial Grove.” This special event was held in Columbia Falls on Worcester family land. Many of "The Old Guard” were present for the ceremony, along with the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and the U.S. Army Continental Color Guard.

As part of the unveiling ceremony, there was a remembrance tree tagging event. Special dog tags, made by the Worcester family, were presented to each member of the Old Guard with the name of a past Old Guard member. An evergreen tree was chosen by each Old Guard member to place the tag on the trunk of the tree, which then became a living memorial to them.

The 3rd U.S. Infantry, traditionally known as “The Old Guard,” is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, serving our nation since 1784. The Old Guard is the Army’s official ceremonial unit and escort to the president of the United States, and also provides security for Washington, D.C., in times of national emergency or civil disturbance.

The unit received its unique name from Gen. Winfield Scott during a victory parade in Mexico City in 1847 following its valorous performance in the Mexican War. Fifty-five campaign streamers attest to the 3rd Infantry’s long history of service, which spans from the Battle of Fallen Timbers to World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the current Global War on Terrorism.

The Old Guard serves as the official Army Honor Guard and escort to the president. In that capacity, 3rd Infantry soldiers are responsible for conducting military ceremonies at the White House, the Pentagon, national memorials and elsewhere in the national capital region.

In addition, soldiers of the Old Guard maintain a 24-hour vigil at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, provide final funeral honors for military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery and participate in parades at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and Fort Lesley J. McNair.

After the unveiling ceremony, a special performance by the U.S. Army Drill Team, the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife Drum Corps and the Continental Color Guard was held at the Balsam Valley Amphitheater. Following this amazing performance, the U.S. Army’s Six-String Soldiers entertained the packed amphitheater.

Part of the U.S. Army Field Band, the Six-String Soldiers are a three-member acoustic group performing Americana, folk, bluegrass and Irish music, honoring veterans and telling stories of American soldiers across the nation.

Their social media videos have become viral sensations and earned acclaim from many of the covered songs’ original artists, such as Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, the Doobie Brothers, and John Fogerty.

They ended their performance with children joining them on stage for a sing-along performing “I’m an American — yes I am!”

The next performance was from Kansas, one of America’s iconic classic rock bands.

This concert, as all the concerts held at the Balsam Valley Amphitheater, was free for veterans, active duty personnel and Gold Star families.

The evening ended with a fireworks display! Thank you to the Worcester family for such an amazing day of honoring and remembrance of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, those who have served, those still serving and our Gold Star and all our military families.

Upcoming Events

Farm-to-table breakfast

United Veteran Farmers of Maine will host a breakfast Saturday, Aug. 12, from 8 to 11 a.m. at their location at 45 Columbia St., Bangor. Monetary donations will be accepted at the door to help pay for the food from the veteran-owned farms.

Run for Maine Fallen Heroes

On Sunday, Aug. 20, Brunswick Landing 5k Run/Walk and 10k Road Race. Entry fee is $25; Gold Star family members are free. To register, visit runforourfallen.com. Same day registration opens at 7 a.m. All money raised helps support our Maine Gold Star families.

Maine Hire-A-Veteran Fair

On Tuesday, Aug. 29, 9 a.m. to noon at the Maine State Armory, 179 Western Ave., Augusta. More than 100 employers and veteran services programs want to meet you! No registration is required for job seekers.

Free concert

Country music band Sawyer Brown  will play a concert Sunday, Sept. 3, at the Balsam Valley Amphitheater in Columbia Falls. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Veterans and active duty personnel always get in free at concerts at the Balsam Valley Amphitheater. To reserve or purchase tickets, visit balsamvalley.com or call 207-812-3869.

U.S. Navy veteran Joy Asuncion is an Honor Flight Maine board member, a Maine Troop Greeter and Maine State Ambassador for the Women in Military Service For America Memorial. You can reach her at joyasuncion@roadrunner.com or 207-930-5640.

U.S. Army Drill Team performs as part of Old Guard Memorial Grove unveiling celebration July 29 in Columbia Falls. (Photo by: Joy Asuncion)
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