Memorial Day Parade Saved After Controversy

A controversy in Bath, Maine, almost cost the city its Memorial Day parade.

A gambling controversy at the American Legion Post in Bath, Maine, almost cost the city its Memorial Day Parade.

"It was a sad situation that we couldn't do the parade," said Edwin Morton, a member of American Legion Post 21. "It bothered us really bad."

The Legion, which organizes and funds the parade, pleaded guilty to unlawful gambling last month. Court documents state the Legion paid out money for games such as video poker, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars over several years.

Members of Post 21 said they believe veterans organizations should be allowed to have gambling inside their facilities, especially because they give so much money back.

"It's an in-house thing, and I think they should let us collect the money from the veterans that want to play and give it to the community," said Morton.

The Legion Post paid more than $18,000 in fines, leaving no room in the budget for the annual Memorial Day parade.

The city of Bath announced the cancellation last week. Soon after, an anonymous donor stepped forward with $5,000 -- enough to pay for the parade, and restore this community's tradition.

"It's one of those little miracles that happen in life," said Veteran Bill McElman, watching the parade on Monday.

Morton said he hopes to have an even bigger event next year.  

Contact Us