BANGOR, Maine — On the eve of Veterans Day, several local, state and military leaders couldn’t wait to shake the hand of Maj. Eva Marie Price, the state’s oldest living Army nurse, now retired.
“I know you don’t want this, but you certainly deserve the attention,” said Gov. John Baldacci during a ceremony in Bangor honoring Price, who turned 100 years old earlier this year.
“It can never be said enough that we owe a tremendous debt to our veterans,” added U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud.
Price, born in Brewer in 1909, enlisted in the U.S. Army before World War II. Like many women of her generation, she served as a nurse because that was her only real option, but her service helped pave the way for generations of women to follow.
Alfred Michaud, state VFW commander, said he couldn’t change the politics that kept Price from rising through the ranks at the same pace as her male counterparts, but he’s proud that she has taken her rightful place as a proud veteran.
Price, who now lives in a Bangor nursing home and is confined to a wheelchair, couldn’t understand all the fuss, but she sat patiently Tuesday while more than a dozen dignitaries regaled her military history.
After enlisting, Price mended wounded soldiers in the Philippines and then Japan after the bombings of Hiroshima. After the war ended, Price served in Germany and Korea. In the last five years of her 20-year Army career, she treated injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Price moved back to her home state of Maine after retirement and has been active in veterans’ groups ever since.
Her family arranged Tuesday’s celebration at University College with the help of the Bangor Parks & Recreation Department. Price’s sister, Leila Pearson, was overwhelmed by the turnout.
As for Price, she said she’d be busy for days sifting through all the certificates and gifts that she was presented on Tuesday.
“I didn’t do too much,” she said humbly.