The annual Memorial Day parade through the Twin Villages this year will include more than 100 service members and veterans thanks to the efforts of a few community members.
Newcastle Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Viper is spearheading the effort, which it calls the 100-plus Military Personnel March.
Dealership President Randy Miller credits Pat Johnston, a driver for the dealership and a personal friend, with the idea for the event.
Pat Johnston’s husband, Wayne Johnston, is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and she works to honor veterans through Quilts of Valor and Wreaths Across America.
Miller ran with the idea. He called Darcy Knof at Country Coach Charters, of Nobleboro, who agreed to donate trolleys to transport the veterans.
The veterans will meet at the dealership at 10 a.m. and take the trolleys to the offices of The Lincoln County News, where the parade will begin. After the parade, the veterans will return to the dealership for a barbecue. Stone Cove Catering, of Bristol, will cater the barbecue, courtesy of Miller and his dealership.
Miller’s wife, Bridget Miller, is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a veteran of the Air Force, and his late father, Dr. Richard K. Miller, was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. He has friends in the military, and many of his customers are veterans too.
“I just think we need to do more to honor our veterans in this country,” Miller said.
As Americans, we enjoy the freedoms we have because of the sacrifices of our veterans and of those who died in service to their country. This knowledge drives Miller, he said.
The dealership had about 60-65 veterans on board as of Tuesday morning. To sign up, call the dealership at 563-8138 and ask for Miller or Fred McClelland. The dealership needs to know how many veterans will attend by Friday for planning purposes.
We applaud Miller and his friends for their efforts to honor local veterans. While Memorial Day is a day to remember those who did not return from war, it seems appropriate to us to also honor those who did. Every service member knows the sacrifice he or she risks, and every service member and veteran deserves our gratitude.
We will be at the Twin Villages parade on Memorial Day, and our reporters will spread out across the county to take in several other events – see our Memorial Day events listing on page 5 for more information.
Please join us as we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.