Veteran news

Maine Troop Greeters Museum dedicated

Nov 15, 2017
Joy Asuncion Nov. 10 in Maine Troop Greeters Museum.

Over 1.5 million active duty military men and women have passed through Bangor International Airport on their way to and from their overseas assignments and many who have had multiple tours overseas have stopped in Bangor multiple times.

These greetings have resulted in a collection of memorabilia consisting of over 5,000 challenge coins, more than 1,000 patches, over 500 dog tags, flags, banners and many letters of gratitude. The new Maine Troop Greeters Museum at BIA will ensure that these items are displayed and preserved for all to appreciate.

The grand opening of the new museum was held Nov. 10 with a large crowd of supporters from across the state of Maine. The Bangor Band performed for the enthusiastic crowd excited to walk through the entrance to the museum appropriately called “Greeters Hall.”

This day marked a huge milestone for the Troop Greeters, who are all volunteers, who have been working tirelessly for years to raise funds and catalog all the memorabilia, in addition to their commitment to be there day and night for all Troop Flights.

Cathy Czarnecki, who has co-chaired the museum campaign, said, “It will be a place to proudly display the collection of military challenge coins, patches and other tokens of thanks left behind by the troops, and when visitors pass through the museum, they will have a better understanding of the bond between American troops and the hundreds of Maine Troop Greeters who are always there to welcome them to Bangor.”

Guest speakers included Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd Dist., who remembered one of our Troop Greeters who recently passed away, World War II U.S. Army Purple Heart and Bronze Star Recipient Norman (Norm) Rossignol, and how he had dedicated his life to greeting our troops, shaking their hands and sharing his military experience with them.

U.S. Sen. Angus King I-Maine, said, “It isn’t a battlefield, but it’s sacred ground; this is where our troops first set foot in America coming back from the searing experience of battle, and this is a sacred place right here — this corridor right here.”

Sgt. Kevin Tillman also spoke. He stopped in Bangor during Desert Storm, and he shared how he borrowed an instrument from a local high school student to perform during his stop. During the grand opening on Friday, Sgt. Tillman performed “God Bless America" on his saxophone.

I encourage all families to take their children and friends to experience the Maine Troop Greeters Museum, which is open 24/7, 365 days a year and it is free!

About Maine Troop Greeters

The Maine Troop Greeters are a nonprofit, volunteer group of veterans and friends, men and women, supporting our troops who arrive at Bangor International Airport.

For more information about the Maine Troop Greeters, visit themainetroopgreeters.org.

For more information about the Maine Troop Greeters Museum, visit mainetroopgreetersmuseum.org

Vietnam Wall 35th year commemoration

One of our nation’s most moving memorials was dedicated 35 years ago. As part of the commemorations of the wall’s 35th anniversary, the Vietnam Memorial Fund hosted a reading of the names of the more than 58,000 service members inscribed on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., from Nov. 7 through Nov. 10.

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 Joy at joyasuncion@roadrunner.com or 930-5640.

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