By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,430)
“I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time,” said Albert Caron, 91, at this mornings Memorial Day Rememberance at Monument Square. “I loved it all, especially all the smiling faces.” And the crowd loved him back. Caron had just served as the Grand Marshall of the annual Memorial Day Parade on a very sunny day in Portland.
“I planned my escape from prison camp for the Fourth of July,” said Caron. He was captured by the Japanese during World War II and emprisoned in the Philipines at Nichols Field, his brother Larry said. In fact, there were fifteen children in the Caron family and Larry, 75, the youngest, was present at the Parade that honored his brother today. “Albert told me that he carried my picture with him during the whole war and during the tough times that’s what got him through,” the younger said.
Albert joined he army at nineteen, January 1940 and served in the Phillipines for five years. On December 19, 1941 he was captured and escaped his captors one year later. He returned home in 1945 with the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, POW and several other medals. He worked for S.D. Warren from which he retired in 1973. In addition to his brother Larry, other family members in attendance were his daughter Jeanne Libby and her daugher who rode with her grandfather in the Grand Marshall’s car in the parade.
Mayor Michael Brennan said that today it takes so much courage to return home from war. “Veterans have to fight wars here at home. Wars over homelessness, joblessness, and addicitions. Start next week to remember them.” Maine State Senator Justin Alfond said “we need to make sure all veterans have good health care. Veterans are struggling to get good health care.” Senator Alfond said there is a higher percentage of veterans in Maine than in any other state in the counrry.
“Let’s all do more for veterans,” Senator Alfond conluded.