Above: Capt. John Romano, USN ret., 95, a WWII veteran and EG parade stalwart.
By Elizabeth F. McNamara
Turns out, the East Greenwich Memorial Day Parade Committee is so good, even Mother Nature didn’t dare disappoint this year, offering a backdrop of bright blue sky and puffy white clouds, with warm, dry temperatures. The parade, too, did not disappoint.
There were, of course, those parade favorites, EG’s two historic militias, the Kentish Guard and the Varnum Continentals, as well as the EGHS Avenger Band. There was also Capt. John A. Romano (retired), atop an EGFD fire engine. Romano, 95, is a WWII veteran and this was his 39th appearance in the parade, waving broadly in his crisp Navy whites.
This year’s parade featured the Night Life Band and the mythical creatures created by Pack 1, Warwick.
During the closing ceremonies in front of Town Hall, Major General Christopher Callahan, Adjutant General of the Rhode Island National Guard, spoke of how it’s important to recognize all people who serve, not just those in the military. Varnum Continental Patrick Donovan, curator of the Varnum Memorial Armory, read about the final moments of East Greenwich’s Samuel Edwards Rice, a veteran of the Civil War who died at age 21 at the Battle of Spotsylvania, in 1864. With one leg and one arm blown off, Rice was stoic. His final words: “Tell them all at home, I die like a man.”
Luke Sims, 13, a student at Our Lady of Mercy School, recited Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by EGHS students Abby White, Katrina Smith, Ross Simeral and Miguel Figueroa. EGHS trumpeters Patrick Shenefield and Ross Simeral played taps at the WWI Memorial and Molly Synder and Sam DeLong played Taps at Town Hall.
Prayers were offered by Fr. Bernard Healey at the WWI Memorial and by the Rev. Ellen Quaadras at Town Hall, with the closing prayer offered by Chaplain Lucy Amat, a veteran of WWII, who finished with, “God bless America and God bless the whole world.”
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