HOPKINTON – Occasional sprinkles of cold rain may have seemed threatening to the fate of the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by the Gordon Greene Post 27 American Legion. But those dedicated to honoring fallen military heroes didn’t let the bad weather stop them. The parade snaked down the main road between Hope Valley and Wyoming just as it has for 145 years.
This day of observance was officially proclaimed in May of 1868, by the Grand Army of the Republic, to pay tribute to those men who fell during the Civil War. After World War I, honorees included casualties of that war, and each war that followed. Originally called “Decoration Day”, the observance eventually became known as Memorial Day.
The very early Memorial Day parades through Hope Valley and Wyoming included Jillson’s Cornet Band and the Columbia Brass Band. Spectators who lined the main road gazed upon floats created by the Nichols & Langworthy Machine Shop, Avery Funeral Home, and other local businesses of the time. And those soldiers who were lucky enough to have made it home from the Civil War and World War I, donned their uniforms to proudly march through their hometown.
Today, the music which brings the parade to life is provided by the Chariho School bands. The Hope Valley Grange, the Chariho Athletic Association, the South County Movement Center, and a number of other local organizations and businesses, march or ride upon creatively designed floats through town.
Those who serve in the fire, police and ambulance departments of the villages within Hopkinton and Richmond also come out annually to honor our country’s fallen heroes.
Halfway through the procession towards Wyoming, the sky darkened and the light sprinkling of rain developed into a heavy downpour. But the spirit of patriotism prevailed, and the parade marched on.