In the last weeks of April 2020, the South Portland War Veterans’ Memorial Association gathered at Stewart P. Morrill American Legion Post 35 for a parade meeting. Every year, the small group of veterans from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars meet to organize the Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades.

Veterans begin to arrive for a short memorial at South Portland’s Veterans Monument in Mill Creek Park on Veterans Day in 2020. Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, coincides with other international holidays marking the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities were formally ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Brianna Soukup photo/Press Herald

Last year, due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, there were no parades in South Portland. The association, although not permitted to have parades, continued to care for veterans and also held its annual placing of flags on all veterans graves in city cemeteries. The association also hung wreaths on several monuments and small gravesites within city limits.

According to an April 2 news release, “The leadership of South Portland War Veterans’ Memorial Association delivered a letter requesting a permit for the Memorial Day Parade to the South Portland city clerk. Requests have also been made to the music director at South Portland High School for band support. Further requests will be made to the South Portland Middle School bands. Based on the reply from the city and school system, the (association) will move forward with organizing a parade and memorial ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in Mill Creek Park.”

“South Portland has a long history of parades on both Memorial and Veterans Day,” wrote Michael Pock of the South Portland Veterans’ Memorial Association. “Although both days honor veterans fallen in service to our country they are not the same. Memorial Day, originally Decoration Day, honors veterans who died in service to our country whereas Veterans Day, originally Armistice Day, honors all veterans who have served. Although only a slight difference, it still honors veterans.

“At all cemeteries there is a listing of veterans and the locations of their graves. The American Legion places a flag holder on those graves and installs a new flag each year rain or shine. If you have a loved one who served and does not have a marker or has misplaced their marker, contact a local American Legion Post and one will be provided. Flags and markers are provided cost free from the city of South Portland.”

Competitive sports returning to community colleges

A full range of competitive sports are back this fall for students at Central Maine Community College and Southern Maine Community College, both members of the Yankee Small College Conference.

“Competitive sports are an important part of the college experience for many students, whether they’re competing or watching the games,” said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System, in a news release. “As we expand our in-person instruction and campus access, I’m very happy to announce that many more sports opportunities will be available as well.”

The pandemic limited sports opportunities last year, including all competitions. Central Maine Community College and Southern Maine Community College were able to continue some athletic training and programming within COVID-19 safety guidelines.

For the 2021-22 academic year, the two colleges will follow state and local health safety protocols, as well as Yankee Small College Conference guidelines. Each will also have college-specific guidelines to address the use of their unique spaces and in support of safe and meaningful student athlete opportunities.

According to the news release, Southern Maine Community College plans to offer men’s and women’s soccer and basketball, men’s baseball, women’s softball and volleyball, and co-ed golf in 2021-22.

The Yankee Small College Conference sponsors 11 championship sports and has a membership of 10 institutions across Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York.

Southern Maine Community College in South Portland and Brunswick, is also a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, a national governing body of small college athletic programs across the country.