Grand Marshal Archie Pelley, right, tosses a wreath into the Androscoggin River in remembrance of the fallen. Maria Skillings / The Times Record

After two years of virtual events due to the COVID pandemic, hundreds of people returned the annual Topsham-Brunswick Memorial Day parade in person on Monday.

Grand Marshal and U.S. Coast Guard veteran Archie Pelley arrived on the Frank J. Wood bridge in a yellow Corvette driven by a friend and fellow Vietnam veteran.

After the future USS Carl Levin Honor Guard fired three volleys for the fallen, Pelley laid a wreath in the Androscoggin River in remembrance.

Pelley recently returned from an honor flight to D.C. on Sunday and told The Times Record that apart from meeting his wife, it was the best thing that has ever happened to him. On his trip, Pelley was escorted to several monuments and memorials dedicated to fallen soldiers. Pelley said the sights he saw brought tears to his eyes and gave him a chance to bond with his fellow veterans.

Pelley was overwhelmed by the turnout at this year’s parade.

“It’s wonderful. They needed this,” he said.


Topsham resident Bill Morin said he hadn’t been to a parade in a few years but came this year to continue his tradition of snapping photos of the event. Morin said he served in the Air Force and studied history at the University of Maine, fueling his love for Maine’s history and the Frank J. Wood Bridge.

Parade-goers cheered for marching bands from Mt. Ararat High School, Brunswick High School and Brunswick Junior High School. Children dressed in red, white and blue followed riding bicycles. Crowds lined the sidewalks as Boy Scout Troop 202 handed out tiny American flags.

Several floats made their way down Maine Street while being judged on their creativity by Gary Howard, Kathy Bollinger and Patti Sparks. First place was awarded to the United Baptist Church of Topsham, second place was awarded to the Berean Baptist Church of Brunswick and third place was awarded to American Legion Post 202.

“It feels good to be back in person,” Rev. Mark Rockwood of Berean Baptist Church in Brunswick said in his remarks before leading a prayer at ab observance on the Town Mall following the parade.

Monday’s guest speaker was Navy Lt. Dave Mina, chief engineer on the future USS Carl Levin. The vessel is the 70th destroyer ship in the Arleigh Burke destroyer class and the 41st destroyer to be built by Bath Iron Works. The ship is scheduled to depart in 2023, with a homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Mina addressed the crowd, stating, “We should not shy away from looking at our history.”


“You don’t have to be in the armed services to contribute to this country,” Mina said. “We are all Americans, brothers and sisters. It’s when we are divided that hope dies.”


The Topsham Woodside One Wheelers open the parade riding their unicycles on the Frank J. Wood Bridge. Maria Skillings / The Times Record


Mt. Ararat High School marching band. Maria Skillings / The Times Record


Midcoast Youth Cheer squad. Photo by Maria Skillings / Times Record


Brunswick Police Color Guard. Maria Skillings / The Times Record


Veterans for Peace marching in the parade. Photo by Maria Skillings / Times Record

Crew members attached to the future USS Carl M. Levin. Photo by Maria Skillings / Times Record


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