Saturday, April 10, 2010
In the heart of Portland's Downtown District is what most consider the center of the city-- Monument Square. The centerpiece of the Square is the Our Lady of Victories monument by Franklin Simmons constructed in 1891. It is also known as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, honoring Mainers who fought for the Union in the Civil War. This classic bronze statue depicts a goddess of war with sword and shield. On Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, the morning parades end nearby at City Hall, but they fittingly march right by this 'lady'. In November 1995, shortly after Angus King was inaugurated Governor for the first time, my Dad, who was at the time the Commander of Harold T. Andrews Post, my son J- and I had just finished listening to the Veterans' Day speeches on the steps of City Hall, when on our way back to the car and the short ride to the Post in a blustery wind, a replica Civil War unit went marching by. All of a sudden, Dad yelled out. "Hey, stop by Andrews Post for a dish hot fish chowder!" The leader of the unit cried out, "Halt!". He said, "Sir, where is the Post?" Dad hastily gave directions, while J's jaw dropped in awe that his Grandfather could stop a Civil War regiment in its tracks! J- and I still share a warm, secret smile together, when we recall this November morning and many other memorable times with Dad.