Kristal Smith, 18, grew up with the military. Her father, Glenn, served in the Army for 20 years, and her brother, Glenn Jr., is currently deployed with the Army in Afghanistan.

“It’s in the family,” Smith said as she stood in uniform Friday in front of Portland’s City Hall. Her mother, Nikki, stood by her, smiling proudly.

Smith, a college student in the ROTC, was one of more than 150 current and former service members and supporters who gathered on a blustery, gray day in Portland to celebrate veterans’ service to their country.

The Veterans Day events, including a parade from Longfellow Square and a wreath-laying ceremony at City Hall, were hosted by the Harold T. Andrews Post of the American Legion. The ceremony was followed by speeches from several city officials.

Police Chief Michael Sauschuck, a veteran who served in the Marines for five years, spoke about his time in the service and the extent to which those years shaped his values and identity. He contrasted reverential attitudes about the military with the plight of homeless and underemployed veterans as well as those who lose their lives to suicide.

“They’re willing to give the ultimate sacrifice,” Sauschuck said. “What are we willing to do to give back to the best of our country? The best of our city?”

Sauschuck highlighted the work of the organization Boots2Roots, which helps veterans transitioning to civilian life find employment and community. The organization offers resume, employment and networking services, and works to educate employers on how to translate veterans’ technical and leadership skills to a civilian setting. Sauschuck urged Maine’s employers to give veterans a chance.

“Their resume may be a little light,” Sauschuck said. “But their personal values more than make up for that.”

Kathy Cutler, 52, of Pittston appreciated Sauschuck’s sentiments. Her daughter and son-in-law both served in the military and struggled to make the transition back to civilian life. Her son-in-law, she said, returned home with significant disabilities.

“I’ve seen firsthand what the Army and what the war has done to these kids,” Cutler said. “I think it’s really important to show solidarity with the military and to continue to recognize all of their efforts and not take it for granted.”

Mayor Ethan Strimling thanked those who had sacrificed so much for their country and said he hoped that the show of force by city officials sent a message to Maine’s veterans.

“I think it demonstrates, hopefully, to the city the commitment of the City Council and the commitment of the city to the service that you have provided to us day in and day out,” Strimling said.

Strimling noted that one in seven Mainers has served in the armed forces, one of the highest rates in the country. Maine is home to more than 120,000 veterans, who make up more than 9 percent of the state’s total population.

Toward the end of his remarks, Strimling imagined a world that no longer puts service members in harm’s way.

“Let us pray and work for the day where we have honored combat veterans with the ultimate tribute,” Strimling said. “A day when we no longer need to add any more to their ranks.”

As the speeches wound down and the crowd quieted, the mournful notes of taps floated through the air. As a Portland High School student played a single alto saxophone, members of the Marine Corps League fired rifles to honor the fallen.