From the community

Vets in their 90s to carry banner in Memorial Day parade

Posted May 25, 2013, at 6:54 p.m.

BANGOR — Two veterans in their 90s have been selected to carry the World War II banner in Monday’s Memorial Day Parade in Bangor.

Ed Hendrickson of Brewer, 92, and Bangor native Cliff “Bruz” West of Winthrop, 93, will lead veterans in the parade that begins at 10:30 a.m. on Exchange Street and concludes after participants march uphill to Davenport Park at the corner of Cedar Street.

Hendrickson, who often can be found skiing at Hermon Mountain or Sugarloaf in the winter,

joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 with the specific goal of becoming a pilot who could land and take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

During one sortie in the Pacific, Hendrickson’s plane got shot up and he “had to crash land on a carrier” he told the BDN earlier this year.

He flew 75 flights in the Pacific, was attached to the USS Ticonderoga aircraft carrier and participated in the liberation of the Philippines. Like many military pilots, Hendrickson flew everything he could, but he remained partial to the Douglas SBD Dauntless.

“The dive-bomber was the main plane I was in combat with. I liked that,” Hendrickson said. “It had speed. And I like speed.”

The Brewer man is a regular at the Bangor parades. “It’s a patriotic thing to do, and I enjoy it,” he said.

He certainly has the endurance to keep up with parade pace. Hendrickson skied a total of 95 days this past winter and received the Iron Man Award in April at Sugarloaf.

Clifford “Bruz” West, a graduate of Bangor High School and the University of Maine who lives in Winthrop, plans to wear his U.S. Marine uniform in the parade.

Now 93, he served with the Marines in the battles at Peleliu and Okinawa in the Pacific. He also participated in the Bangor parades for the 60th and 65th anniversaries of the end of World War II.

Korean War, Vietnam War and Global War on Terror veterans also will march in the parade in groups, with Cyr buses available to carry those unable to walk the route. Those bringing their walking sticks they received from Cole Land Transportation Museum will receive 2013 stickers for their walking sticks prior to the beginning of the parade.

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