WWII Pepperell Alumni Plaque
Speech for WWII Honor Roll Plaque Re-Dedication Ceremony
Speech presented by Jeff Cabral, Vice President of Biddeford Mills Museum and Director of McArthur Library
Good afternoon, everyone - thank you for being here. Welcome to this rededication ceremony of the Pepperell World War II Honor Roll Plaque.
Over 2200 Pepperell employees throughout America served their country in World War II. 55 men and women gave their lives.
In 1946, Pepperell released a World War II tribute book for its employees, and commissioned 5 World War II Honor Roll plaques, one for each of its operations - Lewiston, ME; Fall River, MA; Opelika, AL; Lindale, GA and of course here in Biddeford.
Our celebratory plaque graced Main Street for many years on the outside of Pepperell Hall. More than 40 years ago, the plaque was moved out of the public eye, and was located outside of Mill #9. Several years ago, when the mills closed, the plaque vanished altogether. Pete Lamontagne and Don Guillerault touched each and every one of the 304 lives on that plaque when they rescued the plaque out of storage many months ago, and began a long process that culminates today.
We are here today, appropriately on Veteran's Day, to shine the light on each of the 304 individuals just as the sun shines on the bronze memorial to their service. We are proud that the plaque has been restored to its rightful place on Main Street, on the brick walls of the mills that these men and women worked in every day, on these same brick walls that no doubt these men and women longed to return home to, at the end of the war.
Here in Biddeford, 304 men and women employed by the mills left Pepperell to enlist in active duty, and 11 did not return. I would like to read the names of those 11.
Paul J. Beaudoin
Robert B. Boissonneault
Robert L. Cadorette
Charles E. Labbe
Walter J. Lajoie
Louis Ramond Lemay
So many people... leading such full lives, each with families, many of you here perhaps will find friends, mothers and sisters, brothers and fathers, cousins and grandparents, and of course co-workers on this plaque. Touch their names, and you are connected once again. Let us always remember them, let us always honor them.
Can I ask you to now stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
I would like to introduce Chaplain Red Soucy who will lead us in a prayer.
View the WWII Honor Roll Plaque Re-Dedication Program (PDF file).
Press Coverage for WWII Honor Roll Plaque Re-Dedication Ceremony
Channel 6: WWII plaque restored, unveiled
Channel 8: World War II plaque in Biddeford re-dedicated
Sun Chronicle: Mill workers remembered
Courier: From Pepperell’s past - World War II honor roll a new fixture in downtown Biddeford
Fox: World War II Plaque Restored in Biddeford
Journal Tribune: Veterans plaque to be rededicated
Sun Chronicle: Pepperell Mills honor roll
Channel 13: Veterans Day: An Old Plaque That Is More Than Just Names
Portland Press Herald: Veterans Day cherished for 'recognizing the sacrifice'