PORTLAND — Hundreds of local residents lined Congress Street this morning to watch the annual Veterans Day parade.

“It’s a very important day,” said Bill Ingraham, a Maine Army National Guard veteran and commander of Amvets Post 25 who served as grand marshal of the parade. “It’s honoring those who served, and some of those made the ultimate sacrifice. This isn’t a celebration. It’s to remember them.”

Onlookers of all ages waved small American flags and clapped as the parade stretched down Congress, from Longfellow Square to City Hall.

Aging veterans as well as current servicemen and servicewomen led the parade, which also included a fife-and-drum corps dressed in Civil War-era uniforms, marching bands from Deering and Portland high schools, and groups of Boy and Girl scouts.

The parade was followed by a ceremony and the playing of taps at City Hall.

Portland Mayor Nicholas Mavodones and U.S. Rep Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, spoke and thanked veterans. Aides also read statements from Maine’s Republican U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of whom said the country must keep its promises to veterans who put themselves in harm’s way.