POW/MIA parade honors those who never made it home

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The 27th annual National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony was held Friday evening in Jay. U.S. Navy veteran Eric Fuller leads United Bikers of Maine across the POW/MIA Remembrance Bridge as part of the ceremony.

By Pam Harnden, Staff Writer

JAY — Juanita Crafts of Livermore and Dee Robinson of Farmington placed a wreath at POW/MIA Remembrance Bridge Monument of all Wars on Friday in a ceremony attended by about 100 people.

Crafts’ husband, Charles Crafts, was a Vietnam POW.

Robinson’s son Edwin served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Her father was a WWII Veteran.

Among those attending the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony at the monument at Crash and Riley roads were between 40 and 50 members of the United Bikers of Maine. Their 18-mile ride began in Turner and ended in Livermore Falls with escorts from Livermore Falls and Jay police.

The parade of bikes was led by U.S. Navy veteran Eric Fuller, who said he has participated for 23 consecutive years.

Mercy Smith of East Dixfield, Franklin County treasurer for United Bikers of Maine, said the ride honors those who never made it home.

“It touches the heart,” she said.

The 27th annual National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony was held Friday evening in Jay. U.S. Navy veteran Eric Fuller leads United Bikers of Maine across the POW/MIA Remembrance Bridge as part of the ceremony.

(Pam Harnden/Sun Journal)

VFW Post 3335 Senior Vice Commander Terry Mears said she was honored to recognize and salute the men and women who served and sacrificed to keep America free.

“We’re here to salute the families of the missing who continue to keep the candle of hope alive,” she said. “Since the beginning of World War II, more than 83,000 military men and women are missing or unaccounted for. Their families want to know what happened to their loved ones. That is not too much to ask.”

VFW Post 3335 Chaplain Don LeSuer offered a prayer.

Kirk D. Thurston of Rumford, American Legion Area 1 and 2 commander, Donald Simoneau, American Legion past state commander, and several veterans and auxiliary members attended.

Organizers John Dube, past VFW district commander, Gail Kerns-Dube, VFW Post 3335 Auxiliary, and Vince Hogal, VFW Post 3335 commander, also attended.

Sons of AMVETS gave a 21-gun salute. Bill Therrien of the Sons of AMVETS played taps.

Many hugs and greetings were shared before and after the ceremony.

pharnden@unmediagroup.net

Pat White of Canton, holding his terrier, Roxie, talks with VFW Post 3335 Auxiliary member Gail Kerns-Dube at the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony in Jay on Friday night. White said his dog loves to ride.

(Pam Harnden/Sun Journal)

Attending the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony in Jay on Friday are, from left, VFW Post 3335 Senior Vice Commander Terry Mears, VFW Post 3335 Commander Vince Hogan and VFW Past District Commander John Dube. Dube helped organize the event.

(Pam Harnden/Sun Journal)

Participating in the wreath-laying ceremony at the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony in Jay on Friday evening are, from left, VFW Post 3335 Commander Vince Hogan, Dee Robinson, Juanita Crafts and Eric Fuller.

(Pam Harnden/Sun Journal)

Veterans Andy Gerrier holds an American flag as he and Eric Quinn wait for United Bikers of Maine to arrive for the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony in Jay on Friday evening.

(Pam Harnden/Sun Journal)

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