EAST GREENWICH–Despite some dodgy weather, cool and damp, East Greenwich resident turned out to remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country, and to pay respects to those that have served and those that are still serving, at the annual Memorial Day Parade.
Even Gov. Dan McKee turned out to march.
“They invited me to come,” McKee said. “It’s an important day. We’re here to remember those who gave their lives protecting our freedom.”
“And right now with so many people being vaccinated in the state, it’s put us in a good position to get out, and hold parades,” McKee said.
“There has been such an out pouring of respect and honor for those that have served,” McKee added.
Town manager Andrew Nota said the town officials, especially town clerk Leigh Carney and her staff had been working for a number of months to get the Governor to come to the parade.
“It’s time for Rhode Island to get back out,” Nota said.
In addition to remembering those who served, the East Greenwich parade was a contrast in ages.
This year’s Grand Marshall was World War II vet Bill McClintic who is also the oldest resident of East Greenwich at 101 and little seven-month old Avery Cook who was attending the parade with her mom, Ashley.
“We’re waiting for it to begin,” Ashley said, while Avery was bundled up and ready for her first parade experience.
Also in attendance was resident and World War II vet Domenic Giarrusso who served in Italy and North Africa with the 312 Depot Unit with the 15 Air Command.
“It’s so important that we remember all of our fellow vets, those that died, and those that made it home,” Giarrusso said.
McClintic is a retired Navel commander whose ship was hit by a Japanese Kamikaze plane; he later served at the Pentagon.
Eva Strattmen, and her younger brother Parker, said their parents have talked about Memorial Day at home, and their teachers in school have done so as well.
“They fought for our liberty,” Eva added.
This year’s parade featured a host of boy scouts, fire department equipment, fife and drums, honor guards from the East Greenwich Police Department, the East Greenwich Fire Department, and the state police, as well as Miss Teen Rhode Island, Sofia Ledoux, and Miss Rhode Island Jonet Nichelland bag piper and town employee Andrew Wade led off the parade.
OLM student Patrick Cavanagh read the Gettysburg Address.
Representatives of American Legion Post 15, Raymond Vernon and Laurie Amat laid a wreath at the memorial in front of town hall.