East Greenwich continues years-long tradition of honoring vets with parade
EAST GREENWICH—The town will be putting on its annual Veterans Day Parade on Monday, Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. The parade will begin at Academy Field and march down First Avenue for a wreath-laying ceremony at Cliff Street and proceed north on Main Street to Town Hall for the closing ceremonies around 11 a.m. Patrick Donovan of the Varnum Armory Museum and Varnum Continentals will preside over the event as Master of Ceremonies.
The East Greenwich government and people pride themselves on being one of only a handful of Rhode Island communities to continue to sponsor such a parade, honoring Veterans of all wars, especially those who have given their last full measure of devotion.
Though Memorial Day is set aside for the country to honor its fallen soldiers, Veterans Day was established to honor both the dead and the living and serves as a time for both remembrance and community building.
Originally called Armistice Day, Veterans Day began with the closing of World War I when fighting between the more than 30 nations involved ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Though other nations throughout the world still celebrate either Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, the United States was renamed to Veterans Day in America in 1954, less than a decade after the close of World War II and near the end of the Korean War, after numerous veterans organizations lobbied the government to extend the holiday from honoring World War I veterans to honoring all veterans.
As the holiday brings the sacrifices of those who serve or served into sharper focus, residents can offer to make life a little bit better for veterans in their communities in a variety of ways. From simply picking up the tab for a veteran’s coffee to volunteering time with the local Veterans Affairs hospital, from providing a ride to a doctor’s appointment for a disabled veteran to donating much-needed supplies at a local Stand Down event for veterans in need, there is no shortage of ways that residents might put their shoulder to the wheel and repay the debt owed to America’s veterans.
Of course, one of the best ways to get in touch and meet local veterans will be to attend the town’s parade on Monday, which is sure to well attended by the robust veteran community within the area. Nearly 9.5 percent of Kent County residents are veterans, the second-highest rate of any county in the state except for Newport, and that makes participation in the Veterans Day Parade an event to remember.
In East Greenwich, the “Lone Piper” Aaron Lindo will lead the procession with bagpipes and the parade will feature color guards from the police and fire departments along with the always resplendent local militia groups the Kentish Guards, Varnum Continentals and the Pawtuxet Rangers. Several veterans organizations will be present, including the American Legion Post 15, VFW Post 8018 and the ever patriotic float paying homage to The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Musical groups include the Governor’s Own 88th Army Marching Band, Navy Band Northeast, Providence Brigade Band, RI Highlanders and the East Greenwich High School Marching Band. Local Boy and Girl Scouts will also be marching along with many local organizations displaying their patriotic spirit. Numerous classic and antique cars will participate along with the ever patriotic Blue Knights Law Enforcement motorcycle group. Local fire companies will display an outstanding array of apparatus.
A temporary parking ban will be in effect on several of the streets surrounding Academy Field in order to accommodate parade vehicles. In the event of inclement weather, Divisions 1 and 2 will hold a ceremony inside the Swift Community Center at 121 Peirce Street.