2018-06-08 / Letters

Vet feels unwelcome at Memorial Day parade

To the editor,

Many of us in town attended the Kennebunkport Memorial Day parade. For me as a veteran it is bittersweet.

It’s the beginning of summer, but it is a somber meeting. I did not wear my uniform this year. My kids were marching with the band and I wanted to enjoy watching and listening to them.

I got going a bit late to the parade and had to take my own mode of transport. It was cloudy, but a nice ride in and spirits were up. I arrived at the appointed meeting spot with a smile. I took off my helmet and was sourly greeted by a police officer.

“There is an ordinance against riding a skate board in Dock Square. You will walk that thing out of here when you go.”

That took the smile off my face. The person who was riding their bike in next to me did not get that greeting from the police.

As the parade went on I listened to everyone at the podium welcome us; and thank us for our service. It was hard to enjoy my children’s performance with the unwelcome I received.

I wore a U.S. Navy uniform for eight years. Don’t thank me for my service with one hand and smack me in the face with the other. That’s how that first parade felt. Three years ago I marched in the same parade next to a Vietnam vet. Half way through the parade I looked over and he was crying.

When I asked him if he was OK he responded, “When I got off the plane from Vietnam they spat at me, now they are clapping for me.”

He deserves our praise and our claps.

I don’t want, nor need thanks. I just want equal treatment. The ordinances against skateboarders allow police to profile and discriminate against citizens of our community. Bicycles and horses are also not allowed on the sidewalks, but they are allowed in the street.

If skateboards are riding along with traffic and are abiding all normal laws, we should be treated as any other mode of transport. That’s all I ask, equal treatment.

Jim Trentalange

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