Veterans have always been a part of my life. Words cannot express my gratitude for and my pride in them.

When I was a little girl, I saw men rocking the days away on the porch of the old Elmwood Hotel in Readfield. My dad told me they were Civil War vets. Those dear soldiers — and the porch — have been gone a long time. When I drive by the Elmwood, however, I say a silent prayer in their memory.

Our town, as many others, had our share of World War I vets. I recall stories of how they were “gassed” by the enemy while fighting overseas, explaining why they sometimes acted “funny,” as us kids called it. All our World War I vets have died, but I realize now what a blessing that I remember many of them.

I was a teenager when World War II came along. I recall how heavy my heart was when FDR declared war, but I also recall the joy when it ended. I broke the lock on the Little Brown Church at Readfield Depot so we “juveniles” could ring the bell in victory. I rang it first, then the others took their turns.

Three dear uncles, no longer with us, served in World War II. When I tried to talk to them about their service — the Bronze Star or Purple Heart, or the several months in a military hospital after one had a run-in with a Japanese sword — the answer was always: “It was nothing, I was just doing my job.”

We never wanted another war, but there continue to be others. In honor of all veterans, the Manchester Lions Club hosted a veterans breakfast on April 28.

Thanks Manchester Lions and all the volunteers. Let there be another breakfast, next year.

Evelyn A. Potter, Kents Hill

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