CAMDEN, Maine — More than 100 people packed into the American Legion Hall in Camden on Wednesday to honor veterans, but there were not many young faces in the crowd.
A dozen veterans of World War II were in attendance as American Legion Post 30 Commander Ronald Rainfrette was given the Post’s Legionnaire of the Year Award.
Also speaking at the ceremonies was Robin Botley, a home-schooled ninth grader from Lincolnville, who told the gathering she hopes to see more young people attending such events.
Botley said her peers should stop texting and pull out their ear buds long enough to hear the stories of the veterans in their communities.
“You and your stories are a great piece of American history that is often overlooked,” she said.
Rainfrette said it can be a challenge to get younger veterans active in the Legion. But he said the challenges were different since his Army service in the Vietnam era.
“Vietnam vets weren’t well liked. We kind of kept to ourselves,” said Rainfrette. Now, he said, while Americans may disagree on the politics of war, they tend to support the troops.
In addition to Botley’s talk, the ceremony also included performances by the Lincolnville Band and the Camden Windjammer Barbershop Chorus.
Robert Lannamann, an 84-year-old Camden resident who served in the Navy in WWII and the Korean War, said he was gratified by the turnout to honor veterans’ service.
“I’m glad to see it remembered,” said Lannamann.