Parade watchers braved November winds in Portland Sunday morning to commemorate Veterans Day with a parade. Among the groups marching were Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Maine Base Submarine Veterans, the Boy Scouts and the American Legion.
Tom O’Connor was marching with Post-17 of the American Legion. He says he doesn’t remember how many parades he’s participated in, and he does so every year.
“Oh, I have no idea! I got out of the service in 1985, so it’s been a lot of parades between now and then,” he says.
This Veterans Day marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, and it was an especially important day for O’Connor.
“I’m actually marching in memory of someone I know that is a veteran and is no longer alive, and I think it’s important to remember the veterans that passed before us," he says. "There was a World War I veteran who saved my life when I was a kid, about 8 or 9 years old, so I'm marching in his memory today.”
Antonette Weber served in the military, and was marching in the parade as a part of the Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“As an African American female that served, and coming so far forward, it’s like - to look back and to know that there were people who died for this country, and I’m still here, and I could have gone off and been hurt, the people that are not with us, we stood on their shoulders to get where we are, especially women in the military," says Weber "It's important to me to thank the people that are serving and alive, and to thank those who never came back."
The parade started at Longfellow Square and ended at City Hall with a wreath-laying ceremony and speeches from several veterans and Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling.