LEWISTON — Flood waters at historic high levels along the Androscoggin River has caused severe damage to Veterans Memorial Park.

Stone markers listing the names of local veterans have been knocked down or are missing. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial monument is gone. Many memorial stone benches are underwater, and some of them are knocked over by the power of the water, which overflowed the banks of the Androscoggin River and rushed through the park on Tuesday. A World War II era Army Jeep hangs precariously over raging waters from its tilted pedestal.

L&A Veterans Council Chairman Jerry DeWitt vowed Wednesday morning to rebuild.

“Come hell or high water, we will restore the park,” DeWitt said.

Veterans Memorial Park is overcome Wednesday morning by the Androscoggin River in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The first of 34 granite memorial stones, listing the names of local veterans who served in every military conflict since the Revolutionary War, was placed in 1998. The first circle of markers was still standing except one when DeWitt inspected the damage Wednesday morning. The rest of the markers were knocked over — some visible in the flood waters and others presumably under water.

Of the markers still standing, water was visible above the lower names on the markers. It was unclear if the water had damaged any of those names.


DeWitt said he talked with people near the park, who had family members memorialized on the stones.

A memorial bench in honor of SFC. Shawn Dostie is surrounded Wednesday by flood water from the Androscoggin River at Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“They’re just heartbroken,” DeWitt said. “We’ll just have to see what the damage is when the water recedes.”

One of the immediate concerns was the fate of the jeep, which was donated to the park in 2011 by Del Gendron. Even with floodwaters appearing to recede, DeWitt was worried that it would fall into the water.

“It appears the jeep could be overboard any minute,” said DeWitt, who added that the ground underneath the pedestal is likely compromised, causing the base the jeep sits on to tip.

The 1960s-era tank that was placed at Veterans Memorial Park is surrounded by flood water from the Androscoggin River Wednesday in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

DeWitt is also concerned about the stone wall that separates the river from the park as possibly washing away. Since the city owns the land that the park sits on, the city may need to make costly repairs. DeWitt says he is hopeful that disaster funds will be available to restore the park.

If the Vietnam Veterans Memorial monument is indeed missing, DeWitt vowed to locate it at the bottom of the river and pull it out and return it to the park. That monument was dedicated a couple of years ago after L&A Veterans Council Vice Chairman Charles Paul stood alone along Main Street in his uniform weekly during the winter months of 2021 to collect money for the monument.


The platform that the naval gun sits on, located next to the jeep will likely need to have a new base built, DeWitt said.

The plane and the Gold Star memorial, which both sit on higher ground in the park, so far do not appear damaged. The tank was surrounded by water, but DeWitt said its base should be fine.

The council will likely need a crane to lift up and place the monuments, benches and military hardware back in their place, but that will have to wait until the ground refreezes.

“We started this project in 1998,” DeWitt said. “To see it today is just heartbreaking.”

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