September 11, 2013

In Maine, flags mark loss and raise spirits

The Associated Press

FREEPORT — The flag-waving women who've been dubbed the "Freeport Flag Ladies" led one of the state's biggest observances Wednesday, marking the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Elaine Greene and JoAnn Miller have waved flags every week on Freeport's Main Street since the attacks. They've since been joined by a third flag-waver, Carmen Footer.

On Wednesday, they were joined by more than 100 school children and even more adults, including Gov. Paul LePage and his wife.

"Twelve years later our nation needs encouragement for that American spirit, as much today as back then. Life gets busy so we try to be that gentle reminder, not to tell people what to think but to get them to thinking," said Greene, who at 67 is the youngest of the three flag wavers.

LePage, who ordered flags flown at half-staff, said Americans found strength from each other after the attacks. Addressing the crowd, he said the American people do not want more war, and he encouraged people to pray for people "to come to their senses and we can have peace on earth."

Nearly 3,000 people died when terrorists turned jetliners into missiles that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon outside Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania.

Among the Maine victims were retirees Jackie and Robert Norton of Lubec and Portland lawyer James Roux, who were on separate planes that crashed into the World Trade Center; Stephen Ward, a Gorham native working on the 101st Floor of the trade center's North Tower; and Navy Cmdr. Robert Allan Schlegel, a Maine native who died at the Pentagon.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, who was governor at the time of the terrorist attacks and spent the night at the Maine Emergency Management Agency because of security concerns, sounded a similar theme about how the attacks brought people together.

"While we will always look back upon that terrible day with sorrow-laden hearts, we should also recall with great pride how we, in the midst of our darkest hour, stood shoulder to shoulder in unwavering support of one another.

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