WWII reunion offers free museum day

Posted June 14, 2012, at 1:21 p.m.
Constant Goergen (center) of Luxembourg will attend Saturday's activities at Cole Museum to talk about the granite kilometer markers from the beaches of France to Bastogne, Belgium, marking the path of the Victory Division during World War II.
Photo courtesy of Cole Museum
Constant Goergen (center) of Luxembourg will attend Saturday's activities at Cole Museum to talk about the granite kilometer markers from the beaches of France to Bastogne, Belgium, marking the path of the Victory Division during World War II.

BANGOR, Maine — From the beaches of France to Bastogne, Belgium, a series of kilometer markers made of granite line the highways to remind those traveling the pathway of the Victory Division during World War II. Only two of these monuments can be found outside Europe, and one of them is located in the 5th Armored Division Room at Cole Land Transportation Museum, 405 Perry Road.

The museum will be open free on Saturday, June 16, as part of the 5th Armored Division Association’s 66th and last reunion. Constant Goergen of Luxembourg, which was liberated by the 5th Armored during World War II, will speak from 1:50 to 2:10 p.m. about the kilometer markers and the American Military Cemetery where he has met so many relatives and comrades of Allied soldiers killed during the war.

Cole Land Transportation Museum, which is hosting the reunion of the 5th Armored Division Association on June 14-17 for the third time, will give free guided tours of the museum, both the transportation displays and the military exhibits, 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. Those attending also may take self-guided tours all day.

Members of the 5th Armored Division will be on hand to meet the public at 11 a.m.

Jeep rides on the museum grounds will be given 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3:30 a.m. Saturday. Music will be provided by the River City Harmonizers 12:40-1 p.m., and by the Mainely Music barbershop quartet 1:30-1:45 p.m., both shows in the museum lobby.

Also giving a talk at 1:05 p.m. Saturday will be Dr. Tom OIiver. He is the son of Maj. Gen. Lunsford Oliver, who commanded the 5th Armored Division in Europe and whose challenge to his troops after the war is engraved on the side of the Maine World War II Memorial on the grounds at the museum.

A decorated pilot, Tom Oliver was missing in action for three months in Yugoslavia while his father led the 5th Armored. The pilot also will be on hand at the museum during the day on Friday for those who wish to meet him. He is one of four generations of Lunsford Oliver’s family coming to the reunion.

Museum founder and reunion organizer Galen L. Cole, a Purple Heart veteran, announced that the reunion’s final banquet, set for 6 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Bangor Auditorium, is open to the public. Tickets are $15 each for haddock, chicken or vegetarian entree and are available at Bangor Auditorium until 4 p.m. Friday. Veterans who bring their Maine-made walking sticks given to them by the Cole Museum to the banquet at 6 p.m. will have their name entered in a drawing for a 55-inch TV.

Participants in the reunion banquet will include retired Col. George Benjamin, 96, presumed to be the senior living commanding officer from the 5th Armored; emcee Don Colson, veteran; Bangor Area Children’s Choir; and Bangor Mayor Cary Weston, whose grandfather served in World War II.

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