Jay remembers those who never came home

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U.S. Navy veteran Eric Fuller of Livermore leads a parade of motorcycles across the POW/MIA Memorial Bridge in Jay prior to the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremmony. He has participated for 24 consecutive years. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

JAY — Prisoners of war and those still missing in action were remembered Friday night at the POW/MIA Remembrance Bridge Monument of all Wars near Riley Road and Route 4.

It was the 28th Annual POW/MIA Day recognition in Jay.

Members of the Franklin and Oxford County Chapters of United Bikers of Maine travelled 18 miles from Turner along Route 4 to honor the 18 Maine veterans still missing.

Jim Manter, VFW Post 3335 Judge Advocate, thanked everyone for joining the day of national observance.

“Tonight we gather and take a pause to remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war as well as those missing in action and their families.

“Since World War II over 83,000 of our comrades are still missing. They are unable to be with their loved ones and families tonight, so we join with them in this humble tribute.

“Until the last prisoner of war and missing in action is returned, we will be their voice to let our nation know we have not forgotten them,” he said.

Jim Manter, Judge Adjutant Frank L. Mitchell VFW Post 3335 in Jay, welcomes veterans, United Bikers of Maine and community members to the 28th Annual National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony in Jay Friday, Sept. 21. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

Members of Jay Cub Scout Pack 599 Leaders Matt and Jenna Rocque and scouts Chase and Hunter Rocque led the Pledge of Allegiance.

VFW Commander Kenny Blake escorted Juanita Crafts and other family members as they placed a wreath at the monument. Crafts’ husband, Charles Crafts, was a Vietnam POW.

U.S. Army veteran Paul Bright gave his rendition of the song Some Gave All.

VFW Chaplain Larry Bilodeau gave prayers.

AMVETS Post 33 members gave a 21-gun salute after which member Bill Therrien played Taps.

AMVETS Post 33 provided a gun salute during the POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony held Friday evening, Sept. 21, in Jay. Pictured in no particular order are Captain George St. Pierre, Reggie Tardif, Ted Soucy, Dan Cote, Dick Frazier and Bob Roy. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

Manter invited everyone to the VFW post for fellowship and refreshments following the service.

“While at the post, take a moment to visit our ongoing vigil of the ‘Table of One,’ the symbol of our missing comrades,” he said.

Mercy Smith, treasurer Franklin County UBM, said the weather played a factor in the number of bikes participating this year. 16 took part, down from almost 50 last year.

Eric Fuller of Livermore again led the parade of bikes. The U.S. Navy veteran has participated for 24 consecutive years.

Pat White, Oxford County UBM, said he has participated for eight years. He and Rick Smith, Franklin County UBM, have recently taken over the leadership of their respective groups.

“We both wanted to continue doing this,” White said.

Buddy Seymour of Wayne backs his bike into line prior to the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony Friday night in Jay. He has participated for several years. Members of Franklin and Oxford County UBM ride 18 miles from Turner to Jay to recognize Maine veterans still missing in action. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

American Legion Post 10 in Livermore Falls provided the flags for the service. Don Simoneau provided the public address system. Androscoggin County Sheriff Department, Jay and Livermore Falls Police Departments provided escorts.

Other sponsors were Ski Depot, Riverside Quick Stop, Otis Federal Credit Union, Finley’s Funeral Home and the Flower Barn.

pharnden@sunmediagroup.net