A new plaque honoring WWII veterans will be unveiled at the University of Maine at 3 p.m. on July 1 in an outdoor ceremony at the site of UMaine’s WWII Memorial Garden. The plaque will highlight the existing memorial garden, which recognizes the “greater generation” and all who fought in WWII, including more than 3,970 UMaine faculty, staff and students.
Among those expected to attend the ceremony are University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and several World War II veterans from Maine. They include Don Gallupe, a gunner on a P-61 Black Widow night fighter who became a unit commander in 1943 at the age of 18; Marion “Rud” Rudnicki, member of the corps stationed in occupied post-war Germany; and former Marine George Newhall, a well-known troop host who hosted many soldiers in Bangor upon their return from international deployments. Army veteran Carmine Pecorelli, a petty officer who used radar on a minesweeper during World War II, fought in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts and ended his military career as a sergeant major in the special forces of the army in 1967, will make brief remarks after his recognition.
UMaine Army and Navy ROTC units will participate in the ceremony along with staff from UMaine’s Office of Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) and UMaine’s Veterans Advisory Committee. Maine Business School faculty and staff provided administrative support in soliciting crowdfunding to cover the purchase and installation of the plaque and in organizing the public unveiling ceremony.
The plaque, which represents American troops landing at Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, is installed next to the existing garden in front of the Memorial Union before the July 1 ceremony. Participants and visitors to the memorial can also see tthree plaques displayed in the Union Memorial Hall that recognize each of the 262 fallen soldiers.
Furthermore digital Memory book with photos and biographies remembers all those in UMaine who gave their lives in United States military service beginning in the Spanish-American War in 1898.
The public unveiling ceremony is free and open to the public and will take place in accordance with CDC safety guidelines. Light refreshments will be offered after the ceremony.
For more information or to request reasonable accommodation, contact Nory Jones, [email protected].