FREEPORT, Maine — The morning after President Barack Obama told the nation that the United States must intervene militarily if Syria does not relinquish its chemical weapons, Gov. Paul LePage said Americans do not want another war.
Speaking at a remembrance ceremony in Freeport marking the 12th anniversary of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, LePage thanked first responders “and most importantly, the military who since that day have been fighting for us and continue to fight today.” He asked people to pray for peace.
“From that day we’ve been fighting a war on two fronts. Now we’re down to one,” he said to a crowd gathered at the 9/11 Memorial on Main Street. “I ask you all this morning, let’s pray real hard so the people in Washington make the right decision. We do not want our military to go into battle. 9/11 stays in our hearts … let’s pray that people come to their senses and we can have peace on earth.”
Others who addressed the annual gathering sought to honor those who died and spoke about how the attacks 12 years ago united the nation.
“We as a nation are at our best when times are at their worst,” Maj. Gen. John “Bill” Libby, former adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, said. Noting that in Waterville, where he lived in 2001, flags appeared where they had not been before, he continued, “We weren’t Republicans or Democrats, we weren’t red states or blue states. We were Americans.”
Dave Pasquarello, a teacher from Biddeford, sang “Towers,” a song he wrote in remembrance of a friend and American Airlines flight attendant who died in the crash of Flight 11 on Sept. 11.
“She had the keys to the cockpit,” he said of Karen Martin. “They had to get to her first. She’s a hero.”
In a release Wednesday, LePage called for a Day of Service and Remembrance, asking Mainers to serve their communities “as a way to pay tribute to the thousands of individuals, families and communities directly impacted by the terrorist attacks.”
“People across Maine and throughout the nation came together in the aftermath of 9/11 with an extraordinary spirit of patriotism and unity,” LePage said in the release. “They demonstrated tremendous kindness and generosity, and performed countless acts of service. We can never forget those killed on 9/11. Remembering them through community service will also help to ensure that we never forget the remarkable way Americans responded.”
In 2009, Congress enacted the Serve America Act to recognize Sept. 11 each year as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
LePage also requested prayers for peace during an American Legion 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony in Brunswick at noon Wednesday.