SACO, Maine — Veterans in one Maine city are celebrating a reunion of sorts.
A plaque that was missing for decades after it was stolen from a Saco park has been returned.
"Bringing it up was pretty cool," said Ron Kendall, the Connecticut man who found the marker in a local bar. "Seeing this makes my hair stand up."
Kendall says he first saw the plaque in 1993 in Wethersfield, Connecticut, hanging inside the Old Town Café.
"I knew it didn’t belong there," said Kendall, an Air Force veteran who was stationed at what was then Pease Air Force Base
Monday, at the conclusion of the Biddeford-Saco Veterans Day Parade, the city rededicated the marker with a ceremony.
It's now mounted on a piece of granite in a freshly landscaped section of the Memorial Recreation Fields.
"That is staying there, that is not moving," said Ryan Sommer, Saco's parks director.
Even though the city is proud and very much aware of the bronze marker now, Kendall says it's the bar owner who didn't think the city thought much of it when it was first sighted 26 years ago.
"He didn't think Saco would appreciate it any more than the patrons in his bar would," Kendall said. "I begged to differ."
Eventually, Old Town Café changed hands and its new owner said Kendall could take the plaque home.
"He relinquished the plaque to me," said Kendall, who along with a friend, gave the plaque back to the city in February, and was then invited to the rededication as a special guest.
He hopes kids who see it think of veterans who served. He wants to put a picture of the plaque on its new mount up on the wall at Old Town Café.