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Hello, I’m Governor Paul LePage.

And I’m First Lady Ann LePage.

Governor: As Memorial Day approaches we would like to take this moment to remember and honor our fallen heroes. These brave men and women selflessly gave themselves to defend our great Nation and freedoms we hold dear.

Since becoming your Governor, I have written too many letters of condolence to the families of the fallen. It is, by far, the most difficult part of my job. What I do hope families take from these words, however, is how deeply appreciative I am for their sacrifice.

Maine has a profound heritage of dedication and service to our Country and we take great pride in our Troops. Sadly, this tradition accompanies the fact that no state has lost more service members in Afghanistan, per person, than Maine. They have fought for us and died for us, and there is no way to repay them for what they have given, but on this Memorial Day, we can show that we are grateful for ALL of our fallen heroes.

First Lady: It was with a heavy heart on Friday, the State of Maine added four names to the Battlefield Cross Memorial in the Hall of Flags at the State House. Private First Class Tyler Springmann of Hartland, Captain John Brainard III of Dover-Foxcroft, Staff Sergeant Jessica Wing of Glenburn and Sergeant First Class Aaron Henderson of Houlton will not be forgotten. To date, 54 identification tags are draped on the memorial, a solemn reminder to us all that freedom is not free.

As your First Lady, it has been a pleasure to honor and pay tribute to our Troops. The countless acts of love, kindness and respect I have witnessed at Silver Star ceremonies, memorial services, farewells and homecomings are awe-inspiring. It is truly incredible the amount of reverence and honor people have for our troops and our veterans.

I can safely say that from all I have seen across this state and this country, Americans deeply respect the sacrifices our service members make to protect the things and the people they love. It is a respect that is removed from age, gender or politics and unites us as a nation.

Governor: On Saturday, Ann and I will pause and pay tribute to Maine’s fallen during the American Legion’s annual graveside flag ceremony here in Augusta. We invite you to share the morning with us as we place flags on nearly 15-thousand graves.

We were honored to be the first Governor and First Lady to participate in this ceremony last year and we have found it to be a special way for us to say thank you to the families of these fallen heroes.

At 9 a.m., hundreds of volunteers will help place flags on the graves creating a sea of red, white, and blue that is truly a breath-taking sight.

The American Legion under Donald Simoneau’s leadership started the program in 2007, and the turnout in volunteers has steadily increased every year since.

First Lady: This year’s ceremony will be on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, on Civic Center Drive.

Together we can remember and honor our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen on not only Memorial Day but every day.

We wish you a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

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