I am a soldier’s mom. On July 21, I attended the hero sendoff ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center for the deploying soldiers in the 488th Military Police Unit from Waterville.

I was shocked and saddened that Gov. Paul LePage found it impossible to find an hour out of his Saturday morning to attend the sendoff ceremony for our soldiers, who are putting their lives in harm’s way, and family members, who are putting their lives on hold, both to support and protect our freedom.

LePage did send a standin who read the governor’s speech with anything but elegance and sincerity. It even addressed the 488 incorrectly.

It was equally as sad that Sen. Olympia Snowe decided that it was more important to march in the Old Hallowell Parade instead of addressing these brave and incredible young soldiers.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, however, addressed the troops with integrity, grace, sincerity and a true commitment to our soldiers and their families and did it with a real sense of honor and pride. Her speech brought tears to my eyes. Kudos to Pingree.

I, for one, am proud of our soldiers and admire the commitment and sacrifice made by each and every one of them. Shame on LePage and Snowe, who should have been honored to address the unit. God bless our troops. I know you will all do well and pray you return safe.

Donna Veilleux


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