War veterans to speak at Bangor museum on Memorial Day

Posted May 21, 2012, at 4:02 p.m.
Last modified May 22, 2012, at 4:06 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Two veterans of World War II will be featured during the public Memorial Day program at 1 p.m. Monday, May 28, at Cole Land Transportation Museum, 405 Perry Road.

Paul Wilbur of Hermon was just 17 when he joined the U.S. Marines in February 1942, two months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Wilbur’s job was stringing communications lines, a duty that took him to New Caledonia, Guadalcanal and Bougainville in the Pacific. Luck was with him when an artillery shell came through the truck he was driving on Guadalcanal. The shell didn’t explode.

Wilbur is a volunteer at the Cole Museum, as is Henry Stupakewicz of Hermon, who participates in the Veteran Interview Program with students who visit the museum. Stupakewicz served not only during World War II, but in the Korean War and the Vietnam War as well.

Activities during the annual program will include music by the Bangor High School band from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The band boosters will sell hot dogs, hamburgers, soda and whoopie pies during that time. Each veteran bringing a walking stick to the afternoon program will receive a ticket for a hot dog or hamburger and soda.

George LaPaire will give the invocation and benediction during the 1 p.m. program, and Gary Cole will serve as master of ceremonies.

The keynote speaker will be Capt. Paul Bosse, commander of the Maine Army National Guard’s Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Mountain Infantry, which served in Afghanistan in 2010.

Reading their winning essays on “What I Learned from Interviewing a Veteran” will be high school student Cora Bishop and middle school student RaeLynn Wescott, both of Acadian Christian School in Trenton. Teacher Linda Voss will receive a certificate for her efforts to bring classes from Winslow Junior High School to the museum to interview veterans.

Also speaking will be Sydney McDonald, a seventh-grader from Cohen Middle School in Bangor, who is raising money to attend National History Day activities next month in Maryland.

World War II veterans who participate in the 10:30 a.m. parade in Bangor may receive a reflective sticker for their walking sticks by coming to the museum after the parade.

The Cole Museum has encouraged participation in annual parades for 17 years by giving Maine-made maple walking sticks to Maine veterans who served in World War II. In recent years, the museum also has given sticks to veterans of the Korean War, Vietnam War and the global war on terror, as well. Walking sticks are available 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily to Maine veterans of these eras who come to the museum with ID and proof of service.

Veterans from all eras will form up for the Memorial Day parade at 9:30 a.m. Monday on Exchange Street in Bangor. The 10:30 a.m. parade will follow State Street, then Main Street to Davenport Park. Veterans unable to walk the route may ride in one of the Cyr buses provided. All veterans may ride the buses back from the end of the parade to Exchange Street.

Parade parking will not be permitted at the TD Bank parking lot. Free parking for participants is available at Penobscot Plaza at the junction of Exchange and Washington streets, except for six spaces reserved for Aubuchon Hardware customers; at the parking garage; and at the Career Center on Oak Street.

For information on the program at Cole Land Transportation Museum, call 990-3600.

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