ORONO – A plaque honoring World War II veterans will be unveiled at the University of Maine at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, during an outdoor ceremony at the site of the World War II Memorial Garden ‘UMaine.
The plaque aims to enhance the existing memorial garden, which recognizes the “greater generation” and all who fought in World War II, including more than 3,970 UMaine faculty, staff and students.
University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy will launch the unveiling ceremony by highlighting the contributions of military veterans to UMaine.
Several WWII veterans from Maine will be present and honored at the event, including 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.
Veteran Carmine Pecorelli – a petty officer who served as a radar operator and 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 forces special army specials in 1967 – will make brief remarks after recognition.
UMaine Army and Navy ROTC units will participate in the ceremony along with staff from the UMaine Veterans Education and Transition Services office and UMaine Veterans Advisory Committee. Maine Business School faculty and staff provided administrative support to solicit crowdfunding to cover the purchase and installation of the plaque and to organize the public unveiling ceremony.
The plaque, which represents the American troops landing at Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, will be installed next to the existing garden in front of the Memorial Union before the ceremony. Participants and visitors to the memorial can also see three plaques displayed in the Union Memorial Hall that recognize each of the 262 fallen soldiers.
Additionally, a digital memory book with photos and biographies recalls all of 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 at [email protected].
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