BANGOR, Maine — Vanessa Garcia gazed up as a plane from the 101st Air Refueling Wing of the Maine Air National Guard did its second flyover above Main Street in Bangor.
She rocked a baby stroller back and forth to calm her 1-month-old daughter Alana, who made a little fuss over the noise of guns, instruments, jets, dogs and applause during the Veterans Day parade.
Garcia, a native of McAllen, Texas, said she was surprised to see so many people out in Friday’s cold, windy conditions to celebrate.
“There’s not as much patriotism down there [in Texas], apparently,” Garcia said as the crowd on Main Street loudly cheered a group of Maine World War II veterans. “There’s no Veterans Day parades in that area.”
Garcia serves in the U.S. Navy, while her fiance, John Stuart of Bangor, is a civil engineer in the Air Force. The couple met during their military service.
Garcia said she moved to Bangor about a year ago to be closer to her fiance and raise their new daughter.
She was scheduled for deployment this summer, but the Navy deferred that deployment to give Garcia time to have and raise her daughter.
Garcia moved a blanket aside in the stroller to reveal the face of the now grinning, wide-eyed infant as members of the Navy marched past to the mixed sounds of several patriotic tunes being played at once by different parade bands.
The mother said she wishes she could have joined her fellow sailors in the parade, but her dress uniform doesn’t fit after carrying her baby.
“I’m sure it’s a lot warmer with that uniform on and moving around than it is sitting here on the sidelines,” she chuckled.