After last year’s parade was canceled because of the pandemic, the Searsmont Memorial Day Parade was back in traditional style for 2021. Antique cars and small businesses were cornerstones of the event, just as they are to the town — everyone was gathered to honor and remember those who lost their lives serving our country.

The Waldo County Republicans’ float carried a flag that read “All gave some, some gave all,” and featured the names of several fallen veterans. This was Chair Katrina Smith’s first year in the parade, as she led the patriotic float — featuring a POW/MIA flag as well as the stars and stripes — with her family by her side.

Another display honoring the troops was an art piece depicting soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima. Brian Collins, grandson of former First Selectman Bruce Brierley, towed the piece created by former parade chairwoman Sandra McLellan.

One of the leading classic cars was a 1990 BMW belonging to Jake Levitt and Josh Harrington of the Strictly Street Car Club, based in Augusta. Decked out in red, white and blue, the car represented the third year Levitt has had an entry in the parade, and the very first for Harrington. The two were happy to represent the club, which was started in 2011 and includes other enthusiasts in the area.

George Sprowl, 77, who restores antique cars, brought both his dog, Daisy, and his 1915 Model T Ford to the parade. He said he’d been driving the antique automobile for 55 years, though Daisy hasn’t been by his side for quite that long.

Totman’s Towing owner Brian Totman, joined by his 8-year-old granddaughter Lorelei, was towing a 1965 El Camino, which he described as “very fast — that’s why it’s not on the ground in the parade.” Jim Robbins, president of Robbins Lumber, drove his 1921 REO. He’s been driving the vehicle for 15 years, and bought it in Moncton, Canada. He was accompanied by his grandchildren, who rode in the automobile beside him.

The parade also proved to be important for a lot of little ones. Tri-Town Baseball, a Little League team for kids in Searsmont, Morrill and Belmont, had its own float. When prompted, 9-year-old Carter Bradford said he was “so excited” to be included in the parade with his teammates.

When the parade started, members of the Maine Militia marched to the Searsmont Veterans Memorial for the wreath-laying ceremony. Veterans saluted as the flag was raised high and a prayer was said for all of the fallen soldiers. Ron Rainfrette, a 50-year American Legion member, saluted the flag as it was raised. Brierley, who served Searsmont for three decades, stood by with friends to watch the commemoration. Last year’s parade may have been canceled, but patriotism in Searsmont is alive as ever.