MY POINT OF VIEW: What brought Pilgrims to our shores and the first Thanksgiving

by Gary Kennedy

The Mayflower traversed the Atlantic to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620, led by William Bradford. The reason for the journey was the pursuit of religious freedom. Protestantism was in its infancy. William Bradford was an English Puritan Separatist originally from the West Riding of Yorkshire in northern England. Protestantism is a branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Protestant Reformation. Theology is the ordinary study of the nature of the divine, or more broadly, of religious belief. Back during these times there were so many hands on religion that I am surprised there is any sanity to it all; while just leaving the Crusades with Masonic influence, the Knights Templars and the then cruel Catholic Church. This was a time of land grabs and Godly exploration. The monks and friars had many very cruel priests in their flocks and dealt out extremely cruel punishments for any sort of disobedience.

The British and the Spanish ruled the seas during these times and they gobbled up all the known world in search of wealth and labor. All their acquisitions were placed in total subservience to their mother countries. People were totally inferior and had to give undivided religious obedience to their captors. This as we know will only last so long, and then the people will revolt; as they did in many areas of the world.

The cruelty of England brought the Pilgrims to our shores; and this began the story of the initial settlement here and the first Thanksgiving. We arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620, and would have perished if not for the Wampanoag Native people. They aided with our survival through the first winter, which took many of the settlers’ lives. After being taught how to plant using dried fish for fertilizer we had our first successful crop. There were 90 Wampanoag present for a feast of vegetables, turkey and fish and pudding for dessert. This is where the history of turkey began, as they were in abundance and easy to obtain during this time. Here in Maine they eventually became extirpated and were reintroduced in the 1980s. You never would have guessed that now. They are everywhere.

The complete history is a long and dark one and would take the entire newspaper to cover it all. Anyway, in 1620, 50 pilgrims and 90 Wampanoags celebrated. The feast lasted three days. I should mention only five women survived that first winter. Thanksgiving is celebrated both as a secular as well as a religious holiday. Many argue the story of this holiday and its insemination. One example would be the arrival of a Spanish fleet in 1565 to plant a cross to christen the new settlement of St. Augustine; 800 settlers shared a meal with the Native Timucuan people.

Probably the most notable of happenings would be that of Abraham Lincoln in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender mercy all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or suffers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation”. Veterans and the official creation of Thanksgiving began on the last Thursday of November.

So this is just bits and pieces of how Thanksgiving first began. Turkey evolved in many variations to the feast that it is today on November 23, 2023. It’s now a time to give thanks to God for all that he gives and a time for family and friends to get together and enjoy their blessings together, in peace and harmony. We are going through some hard times currently, so it would be a good time to reflect on our blessings. Also, again we should never forget those who gave it all so that we could be and remain free.

God bless you and yours and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

EVENTS: Warming up for Christmas concert set

After five years Steve and Linda Fotter are returning for the Warming Up For Christmas Concert. (photo by Mark Huard, Central Maine Photography)

by Mark Huard

After a five year hiatus, Steve and Linda Fotter and friends are putting on a benefit concert for Operation Hope managed by the Waterville Police Dept. It is called Warming Up for Christmas and will be held November 18, 5 p.m., at the Williamson Auditorium, at Lawrence High School, in Fairfield. Steve includes some of his current and former guitar students. This year the Al Corey Orchestra under the direction of Brian Nadeau will be opening the concert. Tickets are $25.00 in advance, or $30.00 at the door. They can be purchased on

Over his 17 year career, Fotter and his wife, Linda have gathered everyone together for the performance, and donated the proceeds to charitable causes, so that more people have shelter, safety and food that they wouldn’t of otherwise have. In 2018 the Fotters raised $14,300 for the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, in Waterville, and $15,000 for the Shine on Cass Foundation. The Fotters and the community have helped raise more then $150,000 over the years.

The Fotters say their only goals are to help others and have left a legacy of benevolence, grace and compassion filled with beautiful music that touches not only our ears but our hearts. And it’s a legacy that will continue to inspire others to live and love just a bit harder.

The benefits they have supported include the MS society, heating assistance, first choice, pregnancy center, shine on Cass foundation, the homeless shelter, and now operation. Hope.

Fotter says, this years event will help a wonderful cause that is helping people with serious drug addictions. It is a real problem in our community and if we can help just one person and we’ve done something positive and good. Tickets are also available by calling Mr. Fotter at 207-649-0722.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Continental Congress unanimously adopted Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776

by Gary Kennedy

The usage of Independence Day would be, and is known to all as the 4th of July. When we speak of it in this way it becomes clear as to its real meaning as each of us know and understand it. I state this as we recently have had an influx of immigrations which most likely are unfamiliar with this date in time and to its meaning. When those new comers become fully acclimated to the life and history of this, their new home/country, its importance will become clear to them. It will become to them, as it is to us, who have grown up with the knowledge of this event, and how and why it occurred. For now, as we do every year, we will share a definition as to the meaning and its importance in our lives. Independence Day (4th of July) is revered by Americans as it is indicative of ultimate and unconditional freedom from tyranny and religious persecution; as well as prejudice and slavery.

Some say the growth of the most powerful nation on God’s green Earth, made not only immigration necessary but also slavery. All of that may be in fact true but we now admit, that didn’t make it right. Although most of this happened generations ago we still find need to say, “I’m sorry, but thank you for your sacrifice”. Unfortunately, we are still trying to get it right. We try to right the wrongs of the past but it seems the present creates new ones. However, being a democracy has the benefit of allowing us to make corrections and adjustments as we travel through time. Each generation seems to seek a better tomorrow and yet we see millions of immigrants reaching our shores in search of a better life. So that speaks volumes for the why of it all. America is the land of the free and home of the brave.

On July 4, 1776, the 2nd Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, which announced the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. We officially became the United States of America. The significance of this date in time gave us George Washington, lovingly known as the father of this country and our first president. It was truly a time to celebrate as we were free from Great Britain and also the Revolutionary War was rolled into history. On August 2, 1776, 56 Lovers of Freedom signed the Declaration of Independence. This for the time being severed all political ties with Great Britain. I state political ties as it would not have been wise to sever economic ties with the most economic country in the world at the time. We crossed this path several times in history, China being the most recent. Some doors need to remain open, if at all possible, while slowly disenfranchising those that give unfair advantage to the overall situation.

In 1787 the United States Constitution was written, ratified in 1788 and in full operation in 1789. The U.S. Constitution is the world’s longest serving written charter of government. “We The People”, affirms that the government of the U.S.A. exists to serve its citizens.

The framing of the Constitution was completed at the Constitutional Convention which assembled at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, between May 25 and September 17, 1787.

The founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence as well as helped draft the Constitution. They also became the political leaders of the time. Obviously, they were brilliant men and collectively they forged an amazing document which has stood the test of time. This is the umbrella under which we live and guide our actions towards one another. It is without a doubt one of the most genius documents ever written and has stood the test of time.

I would be remiss in this narration if I didn’t explain our structure which consists of the three branches of government, the Legislative; the Executive and the Judicial. This is the structure that affirms the indisputable strength of our government.

These branches are given certain powers which complement each other and allow us to be known as a Democracy. They give each of us fair representation in our government. Briefly stated the Legislative branch makes the laws of the United States, controls all of the money and has the power to declare war. The Executive is the President of the United States who oversees and directs, guides and tempers our government. He/she enforces the laws of the United States, spends money as allowed by Congress, can declare states of emergency, appoints judges to the Supreme Court and can grant pardons for crimes. The Judicial branch is the Supreme Court which interprets laws, judges when a law is unconstitutional.

So that all is fair and in order we have a system called checks and balances. The president has the power to veto a bill; Congress has the power to impeach Supreme Court judges or even the president. The Supreme Court has the power to veto a law that they deem unconstitutional.

Over 100 countries around the world have used our constitution as a model of their own. Our supreme court continually interprets the constitution as the world evolves. However, its basic tenets have remained virtually unchanged. There is sometimes a quarrel over its interpretation but they never question its wisdom. The leaders and formers of our country created a pathway document the could and would stand the test of time, all time. They were brilliant, the documents were/are brilliant and I am sure they will remain that way through time. Our beloved George Washington said, “The Constitution is the guide, which I never will abandon.”

The records which create 4th of July are only second to the records of the Bible. I recommend everyone should go to their favorite book store and look up the documents mentioned here but most importantly research the founding fathers. There is wonderful reading regarding the lives of each. In doing so you will understand this country and what and who it took to create it.

Have a wonderful 4th of July. Enjoy the food, fireworks and family. Be forever thankful for the wonders of this country and the why, of why so many seek to come here. Thank God for the freedoms we have and the reasons for them. Last but certainly not least thank the veterans who give so much in the preservation of democracy and freedom. Keep America strong. Happy 4th of July and God bless.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY: A Mother’s Day poem

by Roberta Barnes

Mom you are my rainbow,
even on those days when the sun is blocked from view.

Rainbows suddenly appearing on my wall
remind me that though mothers come both short and tall.

There is one thing they all share.
giving love and support to which nothing can compare.

In the middle of the rainbow between the yellow and blue
is the green of healing that to a mother’s nature is so true.

I can never give enough thanks for all the love
that has carried me above troubled waters as if on the wings of a strong dove.

The calendar marks but one day a year
yet it is every day that I remember how you have hushed all my fear.

Never can I in words say
how your strength and love has gotten me through the most distressed day.

Thank you for always helping me make my path clear
and in my heart I will always hold you dear.

Vassalboro 2022 Light up the Town contest winners

Congratulations to all who participated in the Vassalboro Business Association’s annual “Light Up the Town” contest!

The winners are:

Laura Jones, at 943 Bog Rd., #1 Best in Town – $200;
Teresa Jerolman/Dan Poulin, at 1321 Cross Hill Rd., #2 Best in Town – $150;
Stephen/Linnea Holmeister, at 18 Lang St., #3 Best in Town – $100.
Mike/Tracy McKenney, 120 Hannaford Hill Rd., #1 Most Creative – $200;
Kat/Kevin Eastman, at 731 Main St., #2 Most Creative – $150;
Rachel/Nick Jacobs, at 113 Priest Hill Rd., #3 Most Creative – $100.

Fairfield Cops Care For Kids program another huge success

The Fairfield Police Department Cops Care for Kids. (contributed photo)

by Mark Huard

The Fairfield Cops Care for Kids Program was created by the late Kingston Paul over 15 years ago. What started as a way to develop a relationship with the youth of Fairfield, grew into something so much more. That first night 15 years ago, three officers and Kingston delivered approximately 35 stuffed animals with a tag attached with all the officers’ names on it, wishing them a Merry Christmas. Fast forward to today and now all the officers from the department participate by going shopping for the presents, wrapping and delivering those presents and donating out of their checks all year long to help fund the program.

This year the Fairfield Police Department did something new and exciting thanks to an idea that the current Chief Thomas Gould came up with a few years ago. As the program grew over the years from a stuffed animal to three small gifts and a stuffed animal, we wanted something fun for the kids to enjoy and remember for a lifetime. So on December 15 and 16, the Fairfield Community Center was transformed into a Christmas Wonderland and was decorated from floor to ceiling with lights, presents, Christmas trees and more. The kids came in and were able to walk through and enjoy all the lights, vote on their favorite Christmas tree and have a chance to win all the toys underneath, enjoy sugar cookies and hot chocolate all while watching a movie and opening their gifts.

The Cops Care for Kids Program will still continue with their tradition of home deliveries to honor Kingston Paul.

None of this would be possible without the dedication of the department, the donations given throughout the year from members of our and surrounding communities and businesses along with the countless hours of hard work that went into making this all happen.

Volunteers still needed for Festival of Trees

Additional volunteers are still needed as the Alfond Youth & Community Center presents Family Festival of Trees again this holiday season, continuing a proud tradition begun by the Sukeforth family in 2015.

When you participate in this event, you are creating or continuing a fabulous holiday tradition. At the same time, the money you help raise supports our families in the community experiencing food insecurity through the services of Alfond Youth & Community Center and reinforces workforce development projects in the region.

Who doesn’t love a beautiful holiday tree? Imagine over fifty trees and the beauty and creativity represented. This wonderful family tradition will be held at The Elm, 21 College Ave., Waterville from November 18-20 and November 25-27. Hours on Fridays and Saturdays will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 27 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drawings for tree winners will begin on Sunday, November 27 at 5 p.m.

A daily 50/50 drawing will be held each day of the event, with the final 50/50 drawing held at 4 p.m. at the close of the event. You do not need to be present to win – winners will be contacted by phone each day.

The Family Festival of Trees will provide a magical experience the whole family can enjoy. Admission for ages 12 and over is just $2 per person, with children under 12 admitted free. Free children’s books will also be distributed, while supplies last. Purchase and drop your individual tree tickets (just .50 each) into the container of your favorite tree and you could go home at the end of the event with a beautifully decorated tree complete with all the gift cards and merchandise displayed. Only cash payments are accepted for the admission, tree tickets and 50/50 entries; however, an ATM is available on site.

Please join in this magical experience. Whether you visit to view the trees on display or are willing to volunteer some time to help staff the event, it will be time well-spent – and you will be helping support your community through your participation.

For more information about the festival, or to volunteer, go online to If you would like to volunteer as a group, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Bonnie McBreairty,

MY POINT OF VIEW: America’s first veterans were Revolutionary War soldiers

by Gary Kennedy

So here we are with another year passing us by and searching for meaning. We veterans know who, what and why we are considered veterans. In general, those who have served in the U.S. Military are veterans. However, title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, army, navy, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable”.

This definition explains that any individual that completed a service for any branch of armed forces classifies as a veteran as long as they were not dishonorably discharged. The most important thing to understand is veteran status. This is very important to the veteran but has no meaning to the general public. When the veteran is released from his military obligations he or she may be entitled to earned benefits, post military. At this point in time the veteran should locate the nearest “Veterans Administration” office and register any service related situation with a Veterans Advocate. Here also, he will receive information and advice as to what he may be entitled to. He will display his DD214 and perhaps show his military service and medical records. The veteran will be guided from there.

Now let’s take a look at how a veteran began and a little history of the veteran’s origin. In this country the making of a veteran basically began in 1775. This was the beginning of the Revolutionary War. This war began on April 19, 1775, and didn’t end until April 3, 1783; eight long years. We were a young country seeking freedom from mother Great Britain. She didn’t want to let us go so war ensued. The war was fought and won, but at great cost. We lost nearly 70,000 soldiers in this conflict. On the third day of April in 1783 our first veteran was born.

On April 12, 1861, the Civil War had begun. Before it was to end we would lose 364,511 Union soldiers and another 260,000 Confederates. History tells us that loved ones went to the killing fields to claim the bodies of their loved ones. This war ended on April 12, 1865. More veterans were created. They claim 25 percent of those who fought did not survive.

July 28, 1914, World War I began which took the lives of 116,708 and left 204,000 wounded. This ended on November 11, 1918. We were now getting familiar with the word “Veteran”. On September 1, 1939, World War II began and before it was to end 670,846 died and 405,399 were wounded. Those remaining became the new “Veterans”. Next came Korea on June 25, 1950, until July 27, 1953. This was long enough to allow 40,000 to die and 100,000 to be wounded.

Would you know it, we decided the country of Vietnam needed to be free from Communism. This was on November 1, 1955, and ended April 30, 1975. This involved Cambodia and Laos. We spent 20 years trying to change Vietnam but failed in our attempt. However, we did create more “Veterans”. I guess we didn’t have enough so we went to the aid of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, to August 30, 2021. This would be another 20-year war which cost us 2,456 American lives. There were 20,752 of America’s finest wounded. Also this war led to many U.S. soldiers committing suicide. Currently, I don’t know why our troops were so affected by this particular war. I am currently searching for answers to that dilemma. In any case, we ended up with more “veterans”. The last one that I will mention is the Gulf War, which runs from August 2, 1990, to February 28, 1991. Two hundred nineteen men and women died, more “veterans”. There were other skirmishes that I haven’t addressed and my figures are only a good approximate; they are close enough for purposes of this article. I guesstimate around 1,520,226 deaths and approximately five times that in wounded. That’s a lot of sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters as well as others sacrificing to keep us and others free. So we have a million and a half posthumous veterans and many millions more who were lucky enough to make it home. Home is the key word and it’s still free and safe thanks to veterans; we continue to keep conflict off of our shores.

Believe me, if we didn’t have veterans we would be speaking another language by now. When will we and the world learn to live and let live? Greed and corruption continue to take the front seat and so we must continue to create “veterans”. I am a veteran, yet every night I pray for those in harm’s way, especially our veterans. My time has come and gone as is the case of thousands of others. We must rely on the strength of others now, as they will eventually do. At this point in time it’s the way of things. We need to pray for a world of peace. Until that time, God Bless our future veterans. Pray for them; thank them for serving our country and for watching over us. God Bless our veterans and God Bless America.

MY POINT OF VIEW – Labor Day: It gives us another needed break

Norman Rockwell’s painting of Rosie the Riveter in 1943.

by Gary Kennedy

Well, we have one of those long weekends arriving soon. It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by so rapidly. Covid coupled with stress and turmoil seems to have played a role in the rapidity in which time has flown. When you become a senior that doesn’t play out as a good thing. There comes a time in all of our lives when things need to slow down. Unfortunately, we have very little control over that.

Labor Day is celebrated on Monday, September 5, which allows many of us another needed break from the hazardous toils of employment. We might love our job but it sure is great to have a little free time to share with family and friends. It gives us a little extra time to share with our retrospective glasses which acts as a guide into the future. My family and I enjoy the holiday as we can reminisce and pull the past forward, thus allowing us conscientious purpose for the future.

When it is my time to tout the past the first thing that comes to mind is Rosie the Riveter. The holiday itself pays tribute to the conditions and achievements of the American worker. This holiday was created by the labor movement in the 19th century. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, by then President Grover Cleveland. Labor Day carried some soon to be historically important people as well as some outlandish rules.

Rosie Riveter

I mentioned Rosie the Riveter who became America’s sweetheart because of her principals, attire and ethical demeanor. Rosie is one of my favorite historical figures as she represented the work ethic of Americans. She symbolized the ability of women to fill any void in support of their spouse and country. Whenever there was a shortage of help in the labor force women such as Rosie stepped up to fill the void. (America’s Pride) I always mention her during any labor shortage for whatever reason, especially war. I think of her on Memorial Day as well as Labor Day. I hope my annual effort serves to motivate the young ones who didn’t know her, to look her up and become familiar with the kind of person she was and what she stood for.

I mentioned outlandish rules; one of which was you shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day unless you were rich and could afford to vacation at all seasons. Many people actually adhered to that rule. However, after a time most people felt it was hog wash and dismissed it from the things not to do.

There were a couple of ladies who claimed to be the real Rosie the Riveter but I think the most accepted was Naomi Parker Fraley who passed away in 2018, at age 96. Dr. James J. Kimble, of the University of New Jersey, Professor of Communications, was the researcher that finally got it right. The most memorable thing Rosie ever said was shortly before her death and upon it being confirmed that she was in fact the real Rosie the Riveter, “The women of this country these days need some icons, if they think I’m one, I’m happy.” Rosie is one of my heroes, yet despite her success, Rosie was forced off the factory floor when the war ended. Her achievements are buried in books and all her accomplishments wiped out of our conscious. She proved what a woman could do in the labor force, especially in the hour of need. Thanks to historian researches in search of detail and truth we were able to receive her true unredacted story.

So while you are enjoying your family and friends on this extended weekend think about how we achieved what we have and who we are today. There are many Labor Day stories; I am only sharing one with all of my friends out there. Labor Day emphasizes work ethic of which there are many examples even in our own families. Look around and you will see where you got it from. I and all my friends here at The Town Line wish you a happy and safe holiday. May the one that you pray to bless and watch over you and yours. God Bless.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

Vassalboro holds Memorial Day ceremony

from left to right, Mike Poulin, Tom Richards, commander, James Kilbride, adjutant, Doug Grasso, Nicole Jordan and Robert Whitehouse. (photo by Rachel Kilbride)

At the Vassalboro Recreation Field. (photo by Rachel Kilbride)

VASSALBORO, ME — American Legion Post #126, in Vassalboro, laid wreaths at the various veteran monuments in Vassalboro on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2022.

The wreath laying ceremonies began at 9 a.m., on Main St, North Vassalboro, at Main Street Veteran Monument. From there they proceeded to the bridge on Oak Grove Road to lay flowers in honor of those lost at sea. Next they gathered at the flagpole and monument at the North Vassalboro Cemetery, on Cemetery St. From there they went to the Recreation Field, in East Vassalboro. Their final stop was in East Vassalboro at the Civil War Monument, at Monument Park, near the boat landing.