Pearley Lachance, chaplain at Bourque-Lanigan American Legion Post No. 5 of Waterville, is helping to organize the Veterans Day parade planned for Saturday, Nov. 11, in Waterville. Above, Lachance, now 88, in 2019. Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — Organizers are gearing up for the annual Veterans Day parade in Waterville, which is planned for Nov. 11 and to be followed by a ceremony on the steps of City Hall and then a free lunch in Winslow for veterans and parade participants.

The event is being hosted by Bourque-Lanigan American Legion Post No. 5 of Waterville, whose officials welcome anyone wanting to be in the parade to show up at 10:30 a.m. at The Elm at 21 College Ave. to assemble for the 11 a.m. start.

Pearley Lachance, chaplain at Post No. 5, said letters have been sent to veterans organizations in central Maine encouraging them to take part.

Plans call for the parade to leave The Elm parking lot and move south on Main Street, turn east onto Common Street and stop for ceremonies in Castonguay Square, next to City Hall, where Craig Bailey, commander of Post 5, and others are to speak. The lunch is planned for MacGrillis-Rousseau Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. 8835 at 175 Veteran Drive in Winslow.

“All veterans and guests are invited to the luncheon and also the parade participants, even if they’re not veterans,” Lachance said.

Lachance, who is helping to organize the Veterans Day parade, ceremony and lunch, said he encourages people to honor all veterans on Veterans Day. Lachance was a 9-year-old boy growing up in Winslow during World War II, watching and listening for news about the men and women from Waterville and Winslow who served.


“I had a pen pal in the Army Air Corps who ended up getting killed, and for a number of years, I posted his picture in the Morning Sentinel, in that special edition where you can put a picture and small write-up,” Lachance, now 88, said.

His pen pal, Scott Drummond Rousseau of the Waterville-Winslow area, had been orphaned as a child and was 20 when the B-17 in which he was flying crashed in Italy, not long after writing to Lachance and saying he was sorry he had not written in awhile. Lachance’s memory of his friend has never faded.

Lachance served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1956 to 1962, and did not serve overseas.

“But I’m trying to make up for that by helping honor people that have done more than I did,” he said. “That’s why I do it.”

About 20 years ago, Lachance began doing research on World War II veterans from Waterville and Winslow. He perused a scrapbook of Morning Sentinel newspaper stories published each day during the war and gathered information from other areas.

He said he knew many of the people who were subjects of those stories, and has placed stones at Central Maine Veterans Memorial Park in Winslow for two of the veterans who had no families.

Lachance said he is organizing all of his research, including more than 400 photographs, and plans to donate the final product to the Maine Military Historical Society museum in Augusta.

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