BANGOR, Maine — Thousands of parade goers lined streets and bridges in Brewer and Bangor on Wednesday to watch a Fourth of July parade to celebrate America’s 236th birthday.
At the same time, Morgan Ramsay of Hampden celebrated her eighth.
Morgan sat with her mother, Melanie Spencer, on the sidewalk of Bangor’s Main Street waiting for the parade to roll across the Penobscot River from Brewer into Bangor. Each held an American flag, waving it from side to side as they passed the time.
The 8-year-old, who wore a red and blue dress with white stars and matching headband, said it was “cool” that she got to see parades and fireworks every year for her birthday and that she can share the day with the whole country.
Spencer said she has been attending the parade for at least the past 16 years with her family, most of whom were busy running in the race that streamed through town before the parade started.
On the day Morgan was born, her older siblings got to watch the Fourth of July firework show from the maternity ward of Eastern Maine Medical Center, which provides a great view, Spencer said.
“For me, today is about remembering that we have the right to create our own lives,” Spencer said, adding that she was happy to live in a place where her children can be in control of their futures.
As formations of veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the global war on terrorism marched past through the intersection of Main and Middle streets, several veterans broke away and tried to convince 82-year-old Tom Gallant of Bangor to join the parade.
Gallant, who spent 21 years in the Navy before retiring in 1970, passed on the offer and shook their hands. He said he’s not up for walking long distances, but has watched the parade from the same spot on the sidewalk for the past 42 years.
Bruce Sutherland, 25, attended the parade with his wife, two children and younger sister. A member of the United States Marine Corps, he said Fourth of July celebrations remind him of why he joined the military.
“Today is one of those days where there is just an overall sense of pride,” Sutherland said.
A fireworks display is scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday night over the Penobscot River.