Veteran’s Day celebrations have already started in southern Aroostook

Published: Nov. 8, 2023 at 12:03 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Veteran’s Day appreciation events are already starting here in Aroostook County, with the Southern Aroostook Community School hosting a luncheon earlier today.

The Southern Aroostook Elementary School hosted a Veteran’s Day assembly, which included a free lunch, a concert from school singers and the school band, and students who read out letters of appreciation for the veterans in attendance. A parade was originally planned for the event, but due to poor weather conditions, the event was moved inside.

April Bates, the Elementary School principal, explains why this event is important for the kids. “I think it’s very important for our elementary students to learn about the sacrifices of our veterans in our community, to learn to respect and honor them, and to know what has happened in history so that they have the freedoms that they have today.”

The event is an annual celebration that’s been happening for the past 13 years. Jessica Bickford, the school’s music director, says the students have been practicing for the concert for the last few months. “One of the main things that I’ve focused on this year with the students has been talking about how music impacts you in different ways,” Bickford says, “and how our voices and our playing, whether or not it has lyrics, has an impact on the individuals around us.”

The event also included a reading of the book “America’s White Table” by Margot Theis Raven. As a teacher read the book, second-grade students set a traditional table in accordance with the story. The presentation was done to show respect for the veterans and to allow the kids to actively show their appreciation.

Cathy Goff, a US Veteran and the grandmother of a Southern Aroostook second-grader, says that she has attended the event for the last six years. “I come from a long line of military,” Goff says. “Both of my parents - my mom and my dad - were in the Navy, my son was in the Navy, and my husband is a veteran as well. So it’s nice to just be recognized and to know that what we did when we thought nobody cared, somebody really did and they still do.”

Goff says that the event has become a family tradition. “I used to come with my mom,” Goff explains, “she was a veteran as well and we came together as female veterans. It’s something I will always do in her memory now.