BANGOR, Maine — The number of walking sticks distributed to Maine veterans from around the state has topped 8,000, and Cole Land Transportation Museum is continuing the project designed to encourage veterans to get out and march in patriotic parades in Bangor and other communities.
More than 500 veterans participated in the recent Memorial Day parade, according to museum founder Galen Cole, including more than 50 World War II veterans.
A recent check of walking sticks given out to Maine veterans who served during war eras shows that the largest number of walking sticks, 3,323, have been distributed to Vietnam War veterans.
World War II veterans, the first group so honored more than a dozen years ago, have received 2,296 Maine-made walking sticks. Korean War veterans have been given 1,093 sticks; and 1,352 have gone to veterans and active service members of the global war on terror, for a total of 8,064 distributed.
The Maine-made walking sticks may be obtained by Maine veterans who bring identification and proof of having served in the military during one of the four war eras during museum hours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, May 1-Nov. 11, at Cole Museum, 405 Perry Road, Bangor.
Veterans, with or without walking sticks, may join the Fourth of July parade by forming up at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 4, at Acme Road and State Street, Brewer. The parade will start at 11 a.m., proceed down Wilson Street, across the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge into Bangor and then down Main Street to State and Exchange streets. Five area Kiwanis Club presidents will be parade grand marshals.
Veterans unable to walk the route may ride in one of the Cyr buses provided. All veterans may ride the buses back from the end of the parade to Brewer.
Veterans from other states, or who did not serve during one of the war eras, may obtain a walking stick by purchasing it from Peavey Manufacturing in Eddington at 843-7861. Cole Museum does not have walking sticks for sale.