BREWER and BANGOR, Maine — Count on World War II veterans with walking sticks to show up early for the Veterans Day Parade set for 10:15 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11.
The first 15 WWII vets to show up with their walking sticks will receive a specially made wooden holder crafted by Hank Stevens to be attached to a wall to hold each walking stick.
Stevens, who died recently in Michigan, was the lieutenant of a squad of 5th Armored Division soldiers whose half-track vehicle was decimated by a German shell in 1945, killing five men and injuring the others.
After returning to the United States, Stevens had come to Bangor for 5th Armored Division reunions and other activities organized by Galen Cole, one of those wounded in the halftrack.
Cole, founder of Cole Land Transportation Museum on Perry Road in Bangor, also instituted the walking stick program which has distributed more than 8,400 Maine-made maple walking sticks to Maine veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terror.
More walking stick holders may be available in time for Memorial Day next year, but now there are 15 ready for Veterans Day.
Walking sticks for Maine veterans of all four war eras are available 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Nov. 11 at Cole Museum, 405 Perry Road. Veterans must bring their DD 214 or military ID.
Also available at the parade will be 2013 stickers for those with walking sticks who take part in the parade and haven’t already received this year’s sticker.
Veterans Day activities scheduled for Monday, Nov. 11, include the annual pancake breakfast prepared by the Bangor Breakfast Rotary 7-10 a.m. at Brewer Auditorium. Funds raised from the breakfast will be used for the Keep Kids Warm program for area children.
The parade will start at 10:15 a.m. at the Brewer Shopping Center. Veterans will gather before the parade and form in column, eight across, next to the building across the lawn and beside Advance Auto at 373 Wilson St., next to Dr. Rand’s Dentistry. Participants are asked not to park around the building, but to park at the Brewer Shopping Center.
Three Cyr buses will carry veterans who cannot walk the 1½-mile parade route and will follow the veterans group in the parade.
The parade will proceed down Wilson Street, across the Chamberlain Bridge, turning right down Main Street in Bangor, with ceremonies at the reviewing stand on Broad Street. The parade will continue up State Street, turning right onto Exchange Street to disband.
Veterans riding the buses can stay on the buses at the end of the parade and be joined by veterans who marched to be brought back to the Brewer Shopping Center.
Cole Land Transportation Museum will hold Veterans Day ceremonies at 1 p.m. at 405 Perry Road. Area students will read their winning essays in the 2013 Veteran Interview Essay Contest.
Events at the museum will conclude with a patriotic concert performed by the Bangor Band. Activities are free, and all are welcome.
Veterans monuments on the museum site include the Bangor World War II Memorial, dedicated last Veterans Day in memory of Bangor men who died in the war. The memorial has a listing of the names of those who died in the war, as does the Maine Vietnam War Memorial, also part of the museum complex.