AUGUSTA, Maine — Governor Paul R. LePage and First Lady Ann M. LePage ton Tuesday joined Bureau of Veterans Services Director Adria Horn, veterans and their families as they announced the Maine Veterans Legacy Project, a program helping to preserve the living histories of the state’s veterans.
The Veterans Legacy Project provides an opportunity for all generations of Maine families to connect to the state’s military heroes and enables citizens to actively volunteer to protect American history.
“This special program connects our past, present and future generations in a way that touches your heart. Our veterans are living history, and when you listen to some of their stories it brings tears to your eyes,” said Gov. LePage in a press release. “It is our responsibility to ensure these memories are saved and shared with fellow Mainers and Americans.”
The Bureau of Veterans Services created the Maine Veterans Legacy Project with the mission of preserving Maine history by collecting first-person accounts of those who defended the United States during wartime and protected our borders during peacetime. The Bureau of Veterans Services collaborates with WABI TV5 of Bangor to film and produce the interviews and the State of Maine Archives will file the interviews, which will be made available to the public for view.
“This is about our veterans’ legacies and each veteran has his or her own story to tell and lesson-learned to share,” said Adria Horn, in a press release. “Often we hear the words, never forget.’ The Legacy Project is about remembering and learning so we can always remember. This is a meaningful way for our veterans to share their experiences, feelings, and lasting impressions that shaped their lives for our future generations.”
The Veterans Legacy Project initially will focus on interviewing veterans of World War I, World War II, Korean, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf Wars and Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. All veterans are encouraged to participate in the project. However, it is not exclusive to veterans; the project also seeks to share stories from civilians who were actively involved in supporting veterans and the innumerable number of family members affected by their service. The project will also offer war industry workers, medical volunteers, troop greeters and others to contribute in future months.
“This year, we have focused on our World War II veterans because we know we are losing them at a rapid rate,” said First Lady Ann LePage. “We are losing a generation of warriors, and it saddens me to know there are very few veterans still with us who served in World War II.”
During Tuesday’s ceremony, veteran’s photographs lined the Hall of Flags. The photographer, Rafael Macias is a U.S. Navy veteran and retiree. Following his time in the Navy, he decided to pursue photography. Originally from CA, he settled in Maine and started a photography business, Maine Artworks.
Recently, he was been focusing on photographing Maine’s WWII veterans as his own 18-month Veterans Legacy Portrait Project. He completed portraits at the Maine Veterans’ Homes, the MVH calendar, and will later publish a book of his portraits that will include over 90 Maine veterans.
If you are a World War II veteran or you know someone who would like to participate in the Maine Veterans Legacy Project, contact: Laura Allen at the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services, (207) 430-5816.
The Veterans Legacy Project also coordinates with the Library of Congress and its Veterans History Project to archive information. There are now 460 national and local partners. A list of the project’s partners can be viewed atwww.loc.gov/veterans.