Auburn and Lewiston, ME — U.S. Senator Susan Collins walked in the Auburn Memorial Day parade and delivered the keynote address at Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston today. The parade, which was part of Auburn’s year-long 150th anniversary celebration, was the largest Memorial Day parade in Maine this year according to the city.
“Here in Lewiston and Auburn, and throughout America, we gather today to express our gratitude. In countless villages, small towns, and big cities, we raise our voices in song and bow our heads in prayer in honor of those who gave their all for all of us,” said Senator Collins. “As we do these things, we are reminded that freedom is a gift purchased at the greatest possible price.”
“On this day, as we honor the fallen, we also honor those who served and returned home, and those who serve today,” Senator Collins continued. “And while we thank our men and women in uniform for their sacrifices and contributions, we also thank the families – the husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and mothers and fathers – who endure the separation, the anxiety, and, at times, the grief that are also part of freedom’s price.”
Following the ceremony, officials unveiled the 31st granite monument at Veterans Memorial Park honoring more than 200 Lewiston-Auburn servicemen. A new bench from the Douglass family was also unveiled to honor Shingo Douglass, who died aboard the USS Fitzgerald in 2017 when it collided with a cargo ship off the coast of Japan. Douglass’ grandfather is a past commander of the Auburn VFW and serves on the L&A Veterans Council.
Throughout her Senate service, Senator Collins has advocated for members of the military and their families as well as military caregivers. Last week, Senator Collins hosted a press conference to highlight the urgent need to pass legislation to end the military “widow’s tax” along with Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Jon Tester (D-MT), and James Risch (R-ID). Earlier this year, Senators Collins, Jones, Tester, and Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced the Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act of 2019, which would repeal the unfair law that prevents as many as 65,000 surviving military spouses nationwide—including 263 in Maine—from receiving their full Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) survivor benefits.