Bowen to honor student Veterans Day essay winners

As with many of Gov. Paul LePage’s cabinet members, Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen will be participating Monday in an event to mark Veterans Day. He will speak briefly to recognize students who have written winning essays on the theme of “What Freedom Means to Me” at the Cole Land Transportation Museum in Bangor.

The three winning middle school students and three winning high school students all interviewed veterans at the museum before writing their essays for the annual essay contest. The contest is in its 15th year. Each student will be accompanied by the veteran they interviewed for their essay.

The essay contest program will follow the dedication of a memorial to 112 Bangor High School students who served and perished in World War II. The dedication is scheduled for 1 p.m., with the essay contest program to follow about 30 minutes later.

Bowen plans to bring greetings and well wishes from the Governor, and congratulate the students for their work and their interest in understanding and writing about veterans and the topic of freedom.

More than 30,000 middle and high school students have interviewed veterans at the museum since the start of the program. The museum, supported by the Galen Cole Family Foundation, has also given out over 8,000 walking sticks to veterans from World War II to the War on Terror. The Foundation has awarded 29 scholarships of $2,500 each to University of Maine education students since 2008 and four education scholarships to Husson University this year. The Foundation has a strong education component to its programming.

The museum is focused on Maine’s land transportation history – Galen Cole was the head of Cole’s Express, a trucking company in Maine – but also has considerable exhibits and programming focused on military history. Galen Cole was wounded in World War II and the museum maintains a 5th Armored Room, with items from the division which liberated Luxembourg, including a command car and jeeps.

The Cole Land Transportation Museum is located at: 405 Perry Road in Bangor. More information can be found at:

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