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This week’s edition!

Veterans lead by example

By Senator Ned Claxton

On Nov. 11, the nation paused to honor Veterans Day.

Originally known as Armistice Day, this holiday marked the end of World War I, which caused the deaths of more than 116,000 American service members.

When President Woodrow Wilson designated the first remembrance of Armistice Day in 1919, he said: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

Today, we recognize Nov. 11 as a day to honor the sacrifices and contributions of all veterans, while they serve in our military and when they come home to our communities.

The L-A area is fortunate to have several American Legion and VFW posts. These posts serve as vital meeting places for veterans and the community at-large. The VFW and Legion do critical work providing services for veterans, advocating for their needs and making sure they have the support services they need.

In turn, their members also take care of the communities they call home. Members of our local Legion and VFW posts continue to be active in our communities, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Legion Post 153 has been serving delicious, hot meals to help with fundraising. VFW Post 1603 hosted its seventh annual Rib-Off cooking competition on Saturday, Nov. 7.

Nationally, VFW, Legion and Auxiliary members volunteer millions of hours in their communities, and raise millions of dollars for college scholarships, emergency funds, VA hospitals and more. 

I’m constantly inspired by our local veterans. These brave men and women have given so much for our country, and when they return home, they continue to give of themselves to help their neighbors. These everyday acts of selflessness and dedication should serve as an example for all of us.

What can seem like small things — volunteering a few hours at a food pantry or blood drive, donating some money we’d normally spend on a lunch out to a charity or scholarship fund, taking the time to reach out to someone who might be having a hard time — contribute overall to, as President Wilson put it, peace and justice. 

There’s an old adage: Think global, but act local. The millions of hours of volunteering and incredible fundraising efforts of veterans groups don’t happen all at once. They’re the result of the efforts of individuals making small, local decisions to help each other — but look at the incredible good it all builds up to.

On this Veterans Day, and the days to come, I hope you look around for opportunities for small acts of kindness. And if you have the opportunity, remember to thank a veteran for their service to our country and our communities. 

As always, if you have any concerns or would like help connecting with resources or ways to give back, I’m here for you. You can reach me by email at Ned.Claxton@legislature.maine.gov, or call me at 207-287-1515.

Sen. Ned Claxton (D-Androscoggin) represents Maine Senate District 20, which includes Auburn, Mechanic Falls, Minot, New Gloucester, and Poland.

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