BREWER – With no school on Monday, Brewer High School was one of many around the state who honored veterans on Friday.
The event began with cadets from the school’s Junior Air Force ROTC presenting the colors, and later, a prisoner of war and missing in action ceremony.
“The powerful POW/MIA ceremony affirms that the heroes unaccounted for will also live on in our hearts and will never be forgotten,” said Sen. Susan Collins, the senior senator from Maine.
Brewer high’s student council held its annual veterans’ breakfast and recognition ceremony Friday morning and veterans from the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard were in attendance.
“Veterans Day isn’t about victory in war,” Collins said. “Instead, it’s about peace that is sewn through bravery and sacrifice of those who did their part.”
Several people spoke at the remembrance ceremony, including the principal and vice-principal, student council president Mackenzie Fitts and student essay contest winner, Abby Stroup, who spoke passionately about her sister’s call to service.
“I believe a veteran is a man or a woman who has served in the united states armed services. However being a veteran means so much more than that,” said Cadet Col. Joshua Birch, of the BHS class of 2020. “They gladly risk their lives every day in the fight against countries that have threatened our freedom and for that, we are all very thankful.”
There are nearly 22 million veterans living in the U.S. today.
“More than 114,000 live right here in the state of Maine,” Collins said. “I am so proud that Maine has the second-highest percentage of veterans per capita of the entire country. We have done our part.”
Collins ended her speech with a fond childhood memory of her father, Donald Collins, who served with the 87th Infantry in Europe during World War II, taking her as a child to the patriotic parades in their hometown of Caribou.
“He would hoist me high on his shoulders so that I could see our veterans march by, and he taught me to salute our flag and to honor those who served,” Collins said.