The above is from the March edition of The Cryer, a midcoast Maine Newspaper.
Sen. Susan M. Collins
Freeport Flag Ladies Record Statement
Sept. 8, 2010
Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to three great patriots, three inspiring women, from the town of Freeport, Maine. Their names are Elaine Greene, Carmen Footer, and JoAnn Miller. They are known by our men and women in uniform, veterans, and grateful citizens throughout America as the Freeport Flag Ladies.
On September 11th, 2001, an act of unparalleled cruelty transformed a beautiful Tuesday morning into a day of unfathomable horror. Three days later, President Bush asked grief-stricken Americans to step outside their homes with lighted candles in memory of the heroes of 9-11 and of the nearly 3,000 innocent men, women, and children who perished.
Living on a secluded road, Elaine, Carmen, and JoAnn instead took their candles and an American flag to busy Main Street. Their location quickly began a rallying point for all of Freeport, the site of a spontaneous, heartfelt memorial service.
Then they did something even more remarkable. They made a promise to stand with their flags on Main Street each and every Tuesday morning between the hours of 8 and 9, to mark the day and time of the attacks. They have kept that promise faithfully for 469 consecutive Tuesdays, in rain, sleet, and snow, in bitter cold and in blistering heat. Their prayer to be of service was answered with a mission to commemorate, to honor, and to remember. They are among those throughout our nation who transformed America’s darkest day into one of our finest hours.
They have kept their promise, and they have done so much more. Since 2002, they have spearheaded a wonderful 9-11 Tribute in Freeport. This year was their ninth. Several times a week, they make the long drive to Bangor International Airport to join the legendary Maine Troop Greeters, and to Pease International Airport in New Hampshire, to meet the members of our armed forces as they head overseas or return home. They have greeted thousands of soldiers, and they are remembered by them all.
They make a special effort to reach out to those who serve our country and to their families. Thousands of photographs of outbound troops have been sent back home, and families receive a weekly message. They send packages of games, magazines, and food almost every week to troops overseas. Special packages to Combat Support Hospitals contain clothing and special pillows to make the transport of wounded soldiers more comfortable. They fund these amazing efforts themselves, with yard sales, growing and selling “Flowers for Freedom,” and donations. They have not taken any vacations since 2001 and have foregone cable TV to devote all of their financial resources to our troops.
Mr. President, describing what Elaine Greene, Carmen Footer, and JoAnn Miller have done falls far short of putting into words what the Freeport Flag Ladies mean to our country. Perhaps the best words were spoken by Elaine: “Freedom shines on America, so let us shine for America.” The Freeport Flag Ladies shine brightly, and their light inspires us all.