Maine Veterans for Peace will march in the Veterans Day Parade on Saturday after initially being banned by the American Legion branch sponsoring the Portland vets celebration. Some area vets objected to the MVFP's dedication of a Congress Street flag to an Iraqi baby killed in the war. The Portland Downtown District, which co-sponsored the Adopt A Flag program, returned MVFP's $100 donation for their commemorative flag in September, shortly before the local American Legion, which was also involved in the flag project, contacted the MVFP and told them they could not march in the parade this year.
Long story short, the city got involved and now the MVFP is back in the parade, albeit without the gloomy graveyard float it usually pulls along to comment on the lives lost at war. At the end of the parade, the MVFP will donate its returned $100 to Ethan Strimling and Victoria Mares Hershey of the nonprofit Portland West in a ceremony in Monument Square. The donation will be made in memory of Wa'ad Achmed, a one month old Iraqi male killed by US bombs in May 2004. The money will be used for a youth program at Portland West.