‘They’re dying by the hundreds a day’: Sunday ceremony in Belfast to honor all World War II veterans in Waldo County

Posted June 23, 2014, at 2:36 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Lance Weddell is grateful for the “Greatest Generation,” the men and women who helped the United States and its allies defeat Nazi Germany and the Japanese in World War II.

That’s why the Vietnam War veteran and commander of American Legion District 11 is helping organize a recognition ceremony for every surviving World War II veteran who has ties to Waldo County.

The event, scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 29, at the Bank of America building on Route 3 in Belfast, is being held because this month saw the 70th anniversary of D-Day, he said.

“It was the biggest armada that was ever assembled, to turn the tide against Nazi Germany,” he said of the Allied invasion of France.

But the event is also happening because for this group of veterans, time is running short.

“We’re losing a lot of World War II veterans. They’re dying by the hundreds a day,” he said. “We want to recognize them, at least here in Waldo County.”

Weddell thinks there are 70 or so veterans of that war who live in his county, and they’ve all been invited.

“Gee whiz, there’s been a good response,” he said. “All the veterans so far think they’re going to be coming. There’s a handful I suspect won’t be able to make it — for health reasons.”

At the ceremony, the veterans will individually receive a certificate from the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as a certificate from the office of Sen. Angus King. They also will be feted with refreshments like cookies and brownies, because they tend to have a big sweet tooth, Wendell said.

“They are heroes, they absolutely are. First, they are a soldier. Second, they are heroes. Last, they’re veterans,” he said. “I’m humbled to be in the same room as them. They turned the tide. They made our way of life possible today. They sacrificed a lot, and they put the teeth in the Constitution. For everything we enjoy today, we can thank a veteran.”

For more information, contact Lance Weddell at 223-5357.

 

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