athornebrooke@ricentral.com

EAST GREENWICH--The town is set to host its annual Memorial Day parade Monday, May 27, joining thousands of small towns and bustling cities across the nation in honoring those soldiers who gave their lives in military service to the United States.

Unlike Veterans Day in November or Armed Forces Day earlier this month, Memorial Day is set aside specifically to honor those who died in war with solemn remembrance, and innumerable volunteers will be making their rounds to ensure new flags are planted over the graves of soldiers in keeping with a tradition that dates back well before the Civil War. 

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Academy Field and proceed from Mawney Street to First Avenue, according to an event announcement, where there will then be a wreath-laying ceremony at the World War II Memorial. Once the parade arrives at Town Hall, around an hour after leaving Academy Field, of American Legion Post 15 will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

The Kentish Guards and Varnum Continentals will be among those groups in the parade, as well as honor guards from the fire and police departments and local veterans, all led by local bagpiper Aaron Lindo. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier float, which commemorates the common memory of ultimate sacrifice made by veterans whose remains could not be identified and whose names will never be known, will also be making a return appearance to East Greenwich, owing to popular demand.

The appearance of the Guards and Continentals with the replica Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will ensure that the gravity of the history of the occasion is adequately marked, whether that be the history of American wars nearly 250 years ago or of those that are still ongoing.

Other notable appearances will include the Nightlife Marching Band, East Greenwich High School Band, East Greenwich 4H Club, Blue Knights Motorcycle Club and a procession of fascinating antiques from the East Greenwich Veteran Fireman’s Association. The closing remarks will include a recitation of the Gettysburg Address by local student Luke Simms, of Our Lady of Mercy School.

Although previous years of the parade have been washed out, there is no rain date set for an alternate parade in case of inclement weather. Should the elements prove untenable, a Memorial Day ceremony will be held at the Swift Community Center at 10 a.m. in lieu of a parade.

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