Memorial Day: Jackman named marshal of Vergennes parade


VERGENNES — Although Michael Jackman didn’t have an ocean view as a child growing up, he did grow up on Lake Champlain. He recalls spending a lot of time in boats. So when it came time to do his military service in the mid-1960s, he knew he’d end up on the water. 

“I’d gone to Albany to see a Navy recruiter, but he wasn’t there,” the Vergennes native recalled. “I ended up going to the Coast Guard recruiter, and I ended up in the Coast Guard.”

Jackman served in the Coast Guard from 1965-1969, including a tour in Vietnam. American Legion Post No. 14 has selected Jackman as Parade Marshal for this year’s Memorial Day Parade in Vergennes.

The parade, which is always one of the largest in Vermont, has the theme “All gave some, and some gave all.” The purpose of the Memorial Day Parade is to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Marchers and floats will step off from Vergennes Union High School on Monday, May 27, at 11 a.m. 

All groups wanting to participate in the parade should see the registration forms and information on the Vergennes Partnership site at The remembrance ceremony in the park will follow the parade, with the featured speaker Michael Daniels. 

The annual chicken barbeque will be held at American Legion Post No. 14 at $15 per meal, which includes chicken, potato salad and a roll.

Parade Speaker Michael Daniels is a fourth-generation Vergennes resident who has strong ties to the community through service, and the United States military. A member of American Legion Post No. 14 for more than half a century, he served his nation in the Vermont Army National Guard from 1968-1991, retiring as a first sergeant. 

Daniels has been a member of the Vergennes Fire Department since 1968, serving as captain and deputy chief. His municipal services included over five years on the Vergennes City Council and as Vergennes mayor for seven years in two different terms. In addition, he serves as the superintendent of the Prospect Cemetery. 

For Daniels, Memorial Day is a time of remembrance for all who have served, both those who are walking the earth today and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

For Parade Marshal Jackman, Memorial Day is also important as a veteran.

“It’s a very special day to me and means a lot for the community to thank us for what we’ve done,” he said. “In these time with everything so topsy turvy, we need to come together and if Memorial Day can do that, that’s great.”

Jackman was born and raised in the Little City and has been a member of the American Legion for more than 50 years, including the past 42 at Post No. 14 in Vergennes. He served in the roles of historian, chaplain, service officer and second vice commander at Post No. 14. Before moving back to Vergennes, he was a member of American Legion posts in North Carolina and in Middlebury.  

He is also a life member of Middlebury VFW Post No. 7823, where Jackman served as adjutant. 

Jackman has been active in service with Meals on Wheels and many projects over the years with the Legion and VFW.

Jackman feels that Memorial Day is more than just remembrance. It is realizing what all the men and women who serve have done and the time they are away from friends and family. It is understanding the sacrifice of those who gave their lives.

During his years in the Coast Guard, Jackman was a commissary supply officer. He took care of payroll and worked closely with cooks in ordering of food and managing menus. He was stationed out of Boston on a 327-foot weather cutter.

He also served as “recreation officer,” which involved things like picking up and screening films on the ship while it was away from port. During an extended stop in Japan, when the ship was in drydock, Jackman planned a ski trip for fellow guardsmen that took them to the interior mountains of the island nation. 

During the year in Vietnam, Jackman was directly involved in the war. His role was as a hotshelman on a 38-inch gun mounted on the bow of the ship. He was stationed in the Tonkin Gulf in 1968.

“We were lobbing shells a mile or two inland to support our troops there,” he said.

Back in Vermont, Jackman worked at Miller’s Chevrolet in Vergennes for 40 years. Then he worked at Dennecker Chevrolet, and now sells cars for Wimett Trading Company in Leicester.

He also looked to serve the community. Coincidentally, a lot of what he did involved food, just like his job on the Coast Guard ship. He worked at Legion dinners. “I’ve worked on getting meals to shut-ins for as long as I can remember,” he said. “I enjoy that immensely.”

Jackman, 77, has also volunteered at the Legion’s Memorial Day parade for at least four decades. He was moved to be selected as parade marshal, in part recognizing his own years of volunteering, but also in solemn recognition of the service of men and women who sacrificed for their nation.

“I was very honored to be asked,” he said. “It’s a very special day to me and means a lot for the community to thank us for what we’ve done.”

Anyone with questions about the Vergennes parade should feel free to email the American Legion Post No. 14 Parade Committee at [email protected].

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