Portland’s Memorial Day parade was unprecedented.

Like so much of life’s new normal, Monday’s annual event was retooled for the age of the coronavirus. Instead of the usual pomp of marching bands, banners and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, this year’s parade was pared down to a single man – retired Army 1st Sgt. Richard Cobb – carrying an American flag amid a police escort.

Cobb, 62, briskly marched the half-mile stretch of Congress Street from Longfellow Square to Monument Square – to a smattering of applause from a few dozen onlookers along the route.

When he arrived at Monument Square, Cobb laid a wreath at the foot of the Our Lady of Victory statue in front of about 30 people, including buglers and members of the American Legion.

“This is the one time a year we have an opportunity to honor our veterans who led the way for us,” Cobb said in an earlier interview. “Even going through this COVID situation, we can’t forget about our veterans.”

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