National Commander Clarence Hill waves the U.S. flag during Sunday's national convention parade. Photo by James V. Carroll

'To honor veterans past and present'

During the first few days of the 92nd American Legion National Convention, the Milwaukee weather had been kind to Legion family members. Temperatures barely topped 80 degrees, and humidity was non-existent.

That all changed during the biggest outdoor event of the convention: the annual parade. On Sunday, temperatures approached 90, and a warm air mass brought humid conditions into the area. But it didn't bring down the spirits of those who marched in the parade - an event featuring representatives from every Legion department, as well the Legion Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion.

Andy Olson, Maine's immediate past department commander, said his state hasn't had to deal with heat and humidity much this summer. But it didn't keep him from marching down Kilbourn Avenue and over a bridge crossing the Milwaukee River.

"I wanted to march to serve veterans and to honor veterans past and present," said Olson, a member of Post 136 in Stockholm, Maine. "Past members of this organization have done that for their fellow veterans, and I wanted to pay those veterans the same honor. It's a great honor for me to be able to march in this parade."

That opinion was shared by Legionnaire Keith Davidson, who carried the Wyoming state flag as a part of his department's delegation marching in the parade.

"I have always wanted to march in the parade to represent all of the veterans out there," said Davidson, a member of Post 80 in Hulett. "And I wanted to be out here not just representing veterans, but the four pillars of The American Legion."

The parade also featured The American Legion Riders, bicyclists from Ride 2 Recovery, the Milwaukee Police Department Honor/Color Guard and the Greater Milwaukee Fire & Police Pipes and Drums. Legion and non-Legion bands performed in the parade, which featured Brig. Gen. Donald Dunbar, the adjutant general of the Wisconsin National Guard, as grand marshal. Past National Commander David K. Rehbein served as honorary grand marshal.

For more photos of the national convention parade, click here.