LUBEC – America’s easternmost town is now dressed up and decorated, with 72 American flags unfurled up and down Main and Washington streets.
Getting the flags on display in advance of Veterans Day on Nov. 11 was the work of a half-dozen high school students at Lubec Consolidated School. They worked in the rain Friday morning on the project they have taken more than a month to plan.
“It’s so exciting to be out here,” said Paige Case, a junior who had the original idea to fly the flags around town. “I’ve waited a long time for this day.”
People are noticing already. By the end of business on Friday, the town office had received several calls from pleased residents.
“They wanted to know what’s going on,” said Maureen Glidden, the town manager. “It’s neat to see. It looks really nice.”
The flags will be displayed each year between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
A half-dozen other students joined Case in making the flag project real.
“My father has been in Iraq since mid-July,” said Randy Bowen Jr., a sophomore.
“We are doing this for Veterans Day to acknowledge all who are overseas now, and all who fought for our country before. This is just a big Veterans Day memorial.”
Case also drew inspiration from her personal situation. Her boyfriend, Jess Brown of Lubec’s Class of 2005, has been in Iraq for eight months.
The project is an exercise in both national patriotism and local pride.
The school’s new principal, Peter Doak, is a veteran, and actively supported the plan. But the idea to decorate came directly from the kids.
Case first raised the idea with Doak, then went beyond the school to involve others.
Students met with the town’s selectmen at their September meeting. Then came a meeting with members of local American Legion post.
While Doak made a call to Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. to get permission to put flags on utility poles, the kids went to work on fundraising.
Each flag cost around $40. Cole Transportation Museum in Bangor, whose owner, Galen Cole, is a generous veteran, donated 48 of the flags.
Friday was the day to go to work. With John Fuller of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department accompanying them, blue lights flashing, the students started at 8:30 a.m.
The old sardine company in town – R.I. Peacock Canning Co. – donated two forklifts to get the flags 10 feet up on poles. Sheldon Marzoll, a custodian at the school, and Al Watson, the athletic director, climbed on the platforms to put braces on the poles to hold the flags.
Marzoll’s daughter Ashley Marzoll helped place the flags.
“We are here because we want to do this,” the junior said. “This is a way to show that we care for our veterans.”
The flags extend out Main Street to Murphy’s Village Restaurant – and there are 19 of the 72 flags yet to hang. The students will finish by running the rest of the flags toward the school and back toward Main Street.
The display of flags coincides with a resurgence of townwide patriotism within Lubec. The town is restoring its veterans’ monument along Main Street, and has raised $23,000 toward the $50,000 plan.
That project – to stabilize the statue of a Civil War soldier – began in June. Next year, the town might work to restore some stones in the old cemetery.
Lubec Consolidated School’s students, meanwhile, have learned that making presentations to the selectmen is one way to move forward on projects of their own. Just on Thursday, a group of juniors appeared on the agenda to talk about their plans for a drug- and alcohol-free junior year and junior prom.