Veterans Day parade in South Portland.

The South Portland Veterans Day parade began at Southern Maine Community College, moved down Broadway, and ended with a service at the Veterans Monument in Mill Creek Park. The event was hosted by the South Portland War Veterans Memorial Association, comprised of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion.

The local VFW currently does not exist, as they gave up their charter and moved to Gorham. The event this year was essentially run by South Portland American Legion Post 35. “I don’t even know how long we’ve been holding Veterans Day parades in South Portland,” said Michael Pock, adjutant of American Legion Post 35. “Probably since 1919, when the American Legion started.”

A few years ago, the South Portland War Veterans Memorial Association was formed. It plans the Memorial Day parade and the Veterans Day parade. This year, the parade featured the high school band, members of the Coast Guard, American Legion Sea Cadets, and some color guard from the Coast Guard, American Legion, police, and fire departments.

There were also local VIPs such as the mayor, city councilors, commander of Coast Guard base, commander of local American Legion Posts, and grand marshal who is an older veteran. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, robotics teams from the high school, a Veterans Home van, and others, also joined the parade.

Council member Linda Cohen and a Coast Guard representative spoke at the service in Mill Creek Park. A wreath was laid and prayers were given. The service ended with a performance of Taps by the high school band.

“As the adjutant of the American Legion Post, I pretty much run (the event)”, said Pock. “I’m the guy that scheduled everything at the post … and since it’s been done over the years, we pretty much have it down pat now. We know who is going to be in what group, who’s going to show up, who’s not going to show up. It works out pretty good. We always have a pretty good group.”

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