I was beyond pleased to see over 200 attendees this past week at our Veterans Day Ceremony, followed by an exceptional luncheon at American Legion Post 197 provided by local restaurants. Representatives from Senator Collins’ and Rep. Pingree’s offices were even in attendance – now that is a great community effort – and showcasing.

Our military heritage in the Paper City is as strong as any community in America. Some of the greatest leaders in our city’s history, like S.D. Warren’s nephew John Warren who propelled his uncle’s Westbrook paper mill into the largest in the world by 1885, were war heroes or decorated veterans. John, who spent time in the horrific Civil War Confederate prison Andersonville, established the future Riverbank Park, Presumpscot riverside trail, and led Westbrook’s effort to become a city from a township in 1891. And Woodbury K. Dana, another Westbrook Civil War hero, failed at so many previous business ventures it is a wonder his Dana Warp Mills became the most successful of its kind in America. Our Westbrook forefathers certainly had courage beyond our imagination to dream, fight for country and community and to build their communities upon principles of patriotism.

Having just recently received a retirement certificate from 22 years as an officer in the U.S.Navy myself, this makes me even prouder of our continued community commitment to America and her ideals.

Kudos to the organizers of this year’s Veteran’s Day events – including Arty Ledoux, ultra-community-volunteer Deborah Shangraw, and our American Legion Posts. I don’t think I’ve seen Veterans Day event attendance like that in 30 years. Combined with our exceptional Memorial Day attendance this past May, what a heartwarming sign that our sense of community pride and American patriotism is alive and well in Westbrook, Maine.

Philip D. Spiller Jr.
Commander, US Navy (Retired)