21-Mile March Honors Veterans 

Veterans were honored in Central Maine Thursday with a twenty-one-mile march. With feet hitting the pavement and flags held high, it was a way of saying thank you. A walk led by dozens of people who believe it’s their duty to make sure every veteran is recognized. “We’ve seen several hundred I’m sure tooting their horns and waving and saying thank you and that’s what a lot of veterans, that’s what they want, just a little recognition for their service and sacrifice,” says Kennebec County Sheriff Randy Liberty, who is also an Iraq War Veteran. For the past several years Liberty has led the march, which starts in Augusta before sunrise and ends at the Veterans Memorial Park in Winslow around noon. For two-hundred years American soldiers and marines have conducted road marches to reach the battlefield. WWII Veteran and Memorial Park Founder Dan DeRoch couldn’t be more proud of those who walked. “They are just the greatest. See, we never had a chance to march in my service in WWII,” he says. For the Buker family this Veterans Day was special. “Nothing had really been done in 40 years for my brother,” says Peggy Buker-Hunnewell. This year the march was in memory of Army Sgt. Brian Buker of Benton, who received a medal of honor for his actions in the vietnam war. After being wounded Sgt. Buker continued to fight, standing his ground. “He was only 20 years old and he did a man’s job, ” Buker-Hunnewell says. He was killed by enemy fire in 1970. For others, it was a day to stand tall and be proud. Donald Boutin served in Vietnam. He says he’s thankful times have changed for the troops. “We had bricks thrown at us. Bags of blood thrown at us. They called us baby killers,” Boutin says. Boutin walked silently around the Veterans Memorial Park Thursday gazing at the hundreds of names engraved in stone. Shortly after, Boutin was greeted by the walkers with a welcome that was overdue and well-deserved. “It means a lot to me.”