PORTLAND – Maine’s biggest Veterans Day parade won’t feature the group Maine Veterans for Peace if organizers get their way.
Portland’s American Legion Post 17 informed the group that it’s not invited because of concerns that its presence would cause other groups to drop out after a flap over the American Legion’s “Adopt a Flag” program.
City spokesman Peter Dewitt said it’s the American Legion’s call because the parade permit is in the group’s name. The post’s executive committee plans to meet soon and the Portland City Council is scheduled to take up the issue at its Oct. 16 meeting.
Veterans for Peace has participated in the parade for the past 15 years, but relations became strained last month.
Legionnaires set up a program in which people could be memorialized with an American flag and a plaque for $100. Veterans for Peace sent in a check in the name of an Iraqi boy who was killed. The check was returned.
A spokesman for Portland’s Harold T. Andrews Post 17 confirmed the letter.
“I think they’re really being irrational and silly. They don’t own Veterans Day,” said Doug Rawlings, who leads the peace group.