Gov. Janet Mills on Friday ordered flags lowered to half-staff throughout the holiday weekend – not just on Memorial Day – to honor both those who have lost their lives in military service and the 75 Maine people who have died so far from complications of COVID-19.

“They were parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, and loved ones; they were members of our Maine family, and they are missed every day,” she said in a statement. “Today, our state continues to do all we can to fight the ravages of this silent deadly virus, but let us also pause to remember those we have lost.”

In remarks delivered during the state’s daily coronavirus briefing, Maine’s Democratic governor also sought to unite residents against a common enemy.

“2020 has been extraordinarily difficult for our state and for our country,” she said. “There is pain. There is illness. There is death. There is unemployment, financial loss and unprecedented economic hardship.

“But it is on Memorial Day too that we remember how much else we have been through, what we have endured before, how we survived and how we will survive and rise again.”

She hearkened to the leadership of President Franklin Roosevelt, who led the United States out of the Great Depression and through World War II. FDR, she said, “was a man who, more than any other, shaped and directed our moral, social and economic fabric. … A man who gave our nation hope.”

Mills said she shares that hope as Maine and the rest of the country continues to battle against the pandemic that has upended daily life.

“We are facing an enemy that is real but unseen, as sure a killer as any enemy we have ever fought in our national history,” she said, adding that fighting this enemy requires hygiene, not bullets, and social distancing, not huddling in bunkers on the battlefield. “We are all soldiers in this fight.”

Finally, Mills implored Mainers, as they enjoy the long weekend, to wear face masks when appropriate, “to show you care.”

“Wear the mask with pride, in honor of every patriot,” she said.

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