January 23, 2018
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8,825 total walking sticks in hands of veterans

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BANGOR — Maine war veterans are still turning out on a daily basis to pick up their Maine-made maple walking stick at Cole Land Transportation Museum on Perry Road. The total distributed in recent years is now 8,825, museum officials said earlier this week.

There is still time for Maine vets of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terror to obtain their walking stick by bringing their DD 214 or military ID to the museum 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Nov. 11, when the museum will close at 5 p.m. for the season.

The walking stick program, originally for WW II vets only, was started by museum founder Galen Cole as an effort to get more veterans to participate in local patriotic parades. The Veterans Day Parade will begin at 10:15 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11, on Wilson Street near Brewer Auditorium.

Vets who don’t already have the 2013 sticker for their walking stick may obtain one before the parade. In addition, the first 15 WWII vets to show up with their walking sticks will receive a specially made wooden holder crafted by the late Hank Stevens of Michigan to be attached to a wall to hold each walking stick.

Stevens, who died recently in Michigan, was the lieutenant of a squad of 5th Armored Division soldiers whose half-track vehicle was decimated by a German shell in 1945, killing five men and injuring the others.

More walking stick holders may be available in time for Memorial Day next year, but now there are 15 ready for Veterans Day.

Three Cyr buses will carry veterans who cannot walk the 1½-mile parade route and will follow the veterans group in the parade. They also will bring the vets back to Brewer.

The parade will proceed down Wilson Street, across the Chamberlain Bridge, turning right down Main Street in Bangor, with ceremonies at the reviewing stand on Broad Street. The parade will continue up State Street, turning right onto Exchange Street to disband.

Cole Land Transportation Museum will hold Veterans Day ceremonies at 1 p.m. on Perry Road. Area students will read their winning essays in the 2013 Veteran Interview Essay Contest. Events at the museum will conclude with a patriotic concert performed by the Bangor Band. Activities are free, and all are welcome.

Veterans monuments on the museum site include the Bangor World War II Memorial, dedicated last Veterans Day in memory of Bangor men who died in the war. The memorial has a listing of the names of those who died in the war, as does the Maine Vietnam War Memorial, also part of the museum complex.