CARIBOU, Maine — A special ceremony will be held Friday, Aug. 7, at the Veterans Memorial Park in Caribou commemorating National Purple Heart Day. Kris Doody, RN, CEO of Cary Medical Center, will officially donate the Purple Heart Monument to the Veterans Memorial Park Association during the event that starts at 10 a.m.
The monument, a gift from the hospital, already has been installed at the park, and members of the association will accept the gift during the ceremony. All area veterans and residents have been invited to attend the event.
Doody said it is a privilege for the hospital to add the Purple Heart Monument to the park and spoke of her personal connection to veterans.
“My dad served for 39 years with the Maine Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve,” said Doody. “He retired as a colonel and the longest standing commander of the 152nd Field Artillery Battalion.
“I have always had great respect for those who serve our country and put themselves in harm’s way. We are honored to be part of this ceremony and applaud the Veterans Memorial Park Association for their outstanding work in developing this great tribute to all veterans,” she said.
Doody — whose late brother, Wilbur, a Navy veteran, completed three tours of duty in Vietnam — has worked over the past two years to extend the Veterans Administration program, Project ARCH (Access Received Closer to Home). Cary Medical Center is one of five sites in the nation participating in the project that provides for specialty health care to veterans at the hospital, including hospitalization. She said it is important to remember the sacrifice of veterans and particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice or were wounded in combat.
“We must never forget the sacrifice of our nation’s brave men and women who serve with such honor, and we must be ready to care for those who suffer the wounds of battle and their families. We honor all those recipients of the Purple Heart and thank all veterans for their service,” she said.
The brief ceremony on Aug. 7 will feature remarks from Doody and the dedication of the Purple Heart Monument.
Recipients of the Purple Heart are invited to call Cary Community Relations at 498-1112 if they can attend the ceremony and be recognized at the event. The Veterans Memorial Park is located on South Main Street across from the Nylander Museum in Caribou.
The Purple Heart was established by Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War as a way of bolstering the morale of his troops, who essentially fought with nothing and were poorly fed and clothed. Washington created the Badge of Military Merit by Executive Order in 1782. Later, then Army Chief of Staff Gen. Douglas MacArthur reinstated the award and renamed it the Purple Heart.