PORTLAND — Hundreds of Korean War veterans were recognized at ceremonies across Maine on Saturday for their service during the war.

An estimated 400 or more veterans received certificates of appreciation from the federal Department of Defense and the state at ceremonies held in Sanford, Rumford, Lewiston, Brunswick and Bangor.

Many also received appreciation medals given by the country of South Korea, said Peter Ogden director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services.

Saturday was the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice Agreement marking the end of the three-year war between South Korea and North Korea.

“This is a big day to recognize our Korean War veterans,” Ogden said. “They call it the forgotten war, and this gives us a chance to say thanks.”

About 41,000 Mainers served during the war, but only 13,000 still live in Maine, Ogden said. “That population is dwindling quickly,” he said.

Gov. Paul LePage earlier this week issued a proclamation declaring July 27 as Maine Korean War Veteran Recognition Day.

First Lady Ann LePage marked the anniversary with a speech at Veterans Memorial Park in Lewiston.

“I am a firm believer that it is every American’s duty to acknowledge the sacrifices made by our military men and women and to thank them, every day, for the freedoms we enjoy,” she said. “Without them, the ‘American way of life’ would not be possible.”

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