Kaitlin Tito of the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club places a flag at the headstone of a veteran at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Biddeford on Friday, May 22 in advance of Memorial Day Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD — Every year, veterans, family members, and others, all over Maine and beyond, place American flags at the graves of fallen veterans in advance of Memorial Day.

It is a symbol of respect, a thank you, and a reminder of the price of war.

On Friday, May 22 members of the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club placed flags at St Joseph’s Cemetery, a task the club has undertaken for the past seven years, in a partnership with American Legion Post 26, of Biddeford.

American Legion member Ralph Goulet, who served with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War era, has organized the flag-placing at St. Joseph’s for 29 years. He said 1,440 flags were to grace the cemetery this year, honoring those who served.

St. Joseph’s Cemetery is the resting place of veterans from the Civil War to Vietnam, he said.

Due to the coronavirus and the restrictions that go along with it, Biddeford and Saco will commemorate veterans in a different way this year.

The two cities will mark Memorial Day at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 25 with a video debuting live at the Heart of Biddeford and City of Saco Facebook pages. It will be available for viewing later on both Biddeford and Saco municipal web pages and on: www.heartofbiddeford.org.

During the online event, viewers will see pre-recorded selections by local musicians, including Taps by Mrs. Biddeford, Jessica Johnson and her son Julian, addresses by mayors Alan Casavant and William Doyle, and more. Guest speaker is Christian Basque, a veteran and a physician at Southern Maine Health Care, who returned last fall from a 10-month deployment with the U.S. Navy in Iraq, Kuwait and Bahrain.

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