Adrian Caron of Westbrook sings “America the Beautiful” at the Veterans Day ceremony at Riverbank Park in Westbrook Monday. Caron served in the Army for 36 years. He was stationed in Germany and also served in the Korean War. Chance Viles/American Journal

WESTBROOK— Riverbank Park was full of veterans, family members and residents Monday for the Veterans Day Ceremony.

Organizer Deb Shangraw was happy that despite the rain and wind the event was a success.

“Last year there were maybe 25 people, including all of the veterans. I saw a veteran leaving that year tearing up because there was no one to sing for the ceremony. I thought they deserved better, so we really pushed it this year,” Shangraw said.

American Legion Post Commanders Gary York of Post 62 and Steve Girard of Post 197 spoke at the ceremony, as did Mayor Mike Sanphy, a veteran. Ret. Navy Commander Phil Spiller Jr. gave the invocation.

“Today, thank the veterans in your life. People in the military gave up so much, they are not idiots or wearing a costume,” Spiller said.

Despite the solemn tone of the event, Spiller, who ran for mayor this year, got political. His quote in the invocation refers to a campaign ad in he took out the American Journal that another candidate referred to him as being in “costume” when he attended events in his Navy uniform, and that another official referred to a group of active duty military members as idiots.

Members of the Westbrook High Marching Band and the chorus performed “America the Beautiful” as well as the national anthem.

A reception was held after the ceremony, which was free for veterans and first responders, at the American Legion on Conant Street.

People held their flags and sang through the rain at the Veterans Day event. Chance Viles/American Journal

U.S. Air Force veteran Mike Kilmartin of Westbrook salutes during the Pledge of Allegiance. Kilmartin served during the Korean War.

Westbrook High School music students perform “America the Beautiful.” Chance Viles/American Journal

American Legion Post 62 Commander Gary York introduces retired Navy Commander Phil Spiller Jr. Chance Viles/American Journal

Mayor Mike Sanphy reads a poem at the ceremony. Chance Viles/American Journal


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