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Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.

This week we paused to honor the men and women who have served our country in the military.

Wednesday was Veterans Day, and there were celebrations held around the State to show our gratitude and respect for all the people who have served and all those who continue to serve today.

Whether it was the parade in Bangor and Brewer that I attended or similar gatherings elsewhere, Mainers turned out to support our veterans.

We owe a tremendous debt to those who serve.

They leave jobs, friends and family, and voluntarily put themselves into harm’s way.

They fight in far off places, like Iraq and Afghanistan.

But they do much more.

They build roads and schools.

Deliver food and medical supplies.

They save lives and provide comfort.

And they are an example of all that is great about our country.

In the worst of circumstances, they are professional and dedicated, putting the lives of others ahead of their own.

On Tuesday, I had the great privilege to meet Retired Major Eva Price.

Eva was born in 1909 and spent a career as a nurse in the United States Army.

During that career which stretched 20 years, Eva treated our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in far-flung places around the globe.

She arrived in Japan soon after the bombing of Hiroshima and treated the civilians injured by the nuclear blast that helped to end the war.

She also served in the Philippines, Germany and Seoul, South Korea.

Later her duties took her to Washington State, Arkansas, New Jersey and Walter Reed Hospital in Washington.

At each stop, Eva helped to open doors for women who wanted to serve in uniform. And at each stop, she took care of the soldiers who had been injured wearing the uniform of the United States of America.

Eva’s story is one that we can all celebrate as an example of a life of service.

Today, men and women continue to answer the same call of duty that she took all around the world.

Right now, there are about 160 members of the Maine National Guard serving overseas.

Early next year, that number will grow by roughly 900, as elements of the 133rd Engineer Battalion, the (Eleven-thirty-sixth) 1136th Transportation Company and the 172nd Mountain Infantry Company will deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.

This will be the second deployment for all of these units.

We have about 2,100 men and women in the Maine National Guard.

Every one of them is a hero.

More than 2,300 members of the Maine National Guard have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Eight gave their lives for their country.

More than 50 have earned Purple Hearts.

Our State relies upon these brave men and women during foreign deployments and to safeguard our State during an emergency here at home.

While a high percentage of the Maine National Guard will be serving overseas, the mission at home is also important.

We are confident that the men and women serving in-state are up to any challenge we might face – whether it’s an ice storm, blizzard or flood.

Each time they have been called upon, they have answered. And I am proud of them all.

As our men and women prepare for a year away from home, those of us staying behind have our own mission to accomplish.

It is our responsibility to make sure these brave soldiers know that they are in our thoughts and prayers.

It is our responsibility to take care of their families, to support them during the good times and the bad.

It is our responsibility to make sure that those who are deployed receive everything they need – the best equipment, the best health care, and the support to accomplish a difficult mission.

And when they come home, we must make sure that care continues.

We ask our soldiers to put their lives on hold for more than a year.

To live in hard places away from the comfort of home.

And to risk their lives.

When their duty is done, our duty continues.

We must make sure that our veterans receive the support and gratitude they have earned – not just on Veterans Day, but every day.

On behalf of the First Lady, myself and a grateful State, thank you to all the men and women who have served and to all of them who continue to serve today.

Thank you for listening and have a nice weekend.

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