Gratitude and Grief on Memorial Day

The day after Christmas, last December, I went over to Togus and visited with some of our honored veterans.

I got to talk to people who had served in all different branches of the military and all different parts of the world, and hear their stories.

And so it is this Memorial Day, I look forward to honoring those who perished to preserve our country and protect our freedoms, and other honored veterans who are still with us.

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

Our state can proudly say that we’re home to one of the highest number of veterans per capita of any state in the country.

When you consider Maine’s long and proud history of military service, I guess that comes as no surprise.

From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Maine people have always stood up to defend our nation and its ideals and our state has shouldered its responsibility to protect our country.

As the daughter, the niece, and the sister of veterans myself, I always mark Memorial Day with both gratitude and grief. Gratitude that my loved ones came home from conflicts around the world and grief for the Maine service members who did not.

As Governor, I have pledged to honor their memory by making sure that Maine better serves our veterans and their families.

Through the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services, we have re-established the Aides-De-Camp veterans’ advisory program; we’ve expanded free dental care for veterans in need; we’ve created the Governor’s Challenge to coordinate behavioral health services and prevent suicides by veterans; we’ve expanded our Homeless Veteran Coordinator team. Any veteran who is struggling to find affordable housing can reach out to the Bureau of Veterans Services for help. And through our Veterans and Community Connection Expos, we have connected hundreds of service members, veterans, and their families with resources, benefits and peer groups to enrich their lives in our great state.

Through the Maine Department of Labor, we’ve connected veterans with employers through our annual Hire-A-Vet campaign; through the state budget, we’ve provided significant property tax relief to Maine veterans; and through the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, we’ve kept the Maine Veterans’ Homes in Caribou and Machias open for veterans and their spouses.

Well, I’m proud of that progress, but there is always more we can do to support those who wore the uniform. My Administration will continue to push for better services for all Maine veterans and their families – all of whom have sacrificed so much to keep us safe.

This Memorial Day, let’s honor with reverence all those who have faithfully served our state and our nation in the Armed Forces and those who gave, as President Lincoln said, ‘the last full measure of devotion’.  

To all those who have served and to all those who continue to serve our country: our hearts, our gratitude, are with you this Memorial Day, 2023.

And blessings on those who are in our Veterans’ Homes and in care at our great facility at Togus.

God bless you all, and God bless the State of Maine.

This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.