Veterans saluted: Hundreds cheer local veterans in downtown Nashua

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup Sunday morning's chilly breeze didn't deter these Veterans Day parade watchers, who gathered across from City Hall to cheer the various units as they marched by.

NASHUA – The uniform of the day was all about layers, along with hoods, wool caps and gloves for the hundreds of patriotic Greater Nashuans who turned out in Sunday’s chill for the city’s annual Veterans Day parade.

But chilly or not, those who participated in the march from Holman Stadium to Elm Street Middle School displayed one type of military service uniform or another, prompting spectators to applaud and shout “thank you for your service” as they passed by.

The largest contingents of observers could be found in the area of City Hall, especially on the east side of Main Street, the best place to see the activity on the reviewing stand and hear the non-stop selections by the local American Legion band under the direction of conductor Charlie Colletta.

Many longtime parade-goers who thought they noticed something a little different up on the reviewing stand this year were correct: Absent for the first time in 33 years was the voice of Ed Lecius, who, organizers said, was out of the state for a regional meeting of Lions Club officials.

But another native Nashuan, U.S. Army veteran Greg Andruskevich, filled in capably for Lecius, announcing each parade unit as they passed the reviewing stand.

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup Members of the Elliott family didn't let Sunday's breezy chill deter them from watching, and cheering on, Veterans Day parade participants. Danielle, wearing a Santa hat, and her sister Sydney watch with their parents, Iwina and Dave Elliott.

With the midterm elections in the rear-view mirror, at least one thing about the parade that participants and observers alike surely found quite refreshing was the lack of campaign signs and political handouts – with one loud, eye-catching exception.

It came in the form of a large, dual-wheel camper pickup truck parked across from City Hall and festooned with American flags, a “Trump 2020 Keep America Great!” sign, centerpieced by an obviously hand-crafted message paying tribute to America’s “great military” and “all our veterans … do not ever forget all our fallen heroes … .”

While it drew quite a bit of attention, there didn’t seem to be a lot of reaction either positive or negative by neighboring onlookers or the marchers themselves.

On the reviewing stand, meanwhile, seated behind Andruskevich was the Legion band, playing a series of military marches and time-honored battle hymns under Colletta’s conductorship.

Standing up front on the stand were Bob and Barbara Courtemanche, who were selected co-grand marshals and co-presidents of the day for this year’s event.

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup A driver in uniform representing Korean War veterans waves to parade watchers Sunday, as he drives a Korean War-era Jeep along the route.

The couple, long and deeply involved with Nashua’s American Legion Coffey Post 3, alternately saluted and waved to those marching or riding their way past the reviewing stand.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup A cloud of gunpowder smoke wafts toward some of the hundreds of Veterans Day parade watchers moments after several 1st New Hampshire Regiment reenactors fired their Revolutionary War-era muskets.

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup Korean War veteran Bob Courtemanche and his wife, Barbara, salute and wave to Veterans Day parade participants as they pass the reviewing stand in front of City Hall. The two are longtime American Legion members, and served as co-grand marshals on Sunday. At right, Army veteran Greg Andruskevich announces the units as they pass the stand.