By Lillian Ranney
Harry Waterman, a naval veteran, is grand marshal for this year’s Veterans Day parade Saturday (11/11/23). For Waterman, the news of his selection came as a remarkable “shock.”
It’s “a wonderful honor and the climax to an amazing 2023!” he said.
A resident of East Greenwich for nearly 50 years, Waterman is a fixture in town, having worked for PrintShops, Inc, for about 25 years and now for Cartridge World for the past several years, as well as serving as an ambassador for the EG Chamber and a member of the EG Rotary Club.
Always present at town events, Waterman has attended the Veterans Day parade nearly every year since he moved to East Greenwich. Assuming the role of grand marshal is a delight, he said.
Originally from Cincinnati, Waterman joined the service in 1970 and went to boot camp in Chicago before moving to the East Coast in the midst of the Vietnam War to train as a quartermaster at the A School in Newport. He was eventually assigned a position on the USS Ingraham, a World War II naval destroyer. Over the course of his career in the Navy, he traveled on 4 ships, visited 16 countries and 4 continents. In 1973, he was on a DE (destroyer escort) 1049, the USS Koelsch. The purpose of his final cruise, in 1974, was to “show the flag.” This cruise involved Waterman’s ship crossing the equator and sailing to and around small islands in the Indian Ocean such as Mauritius and Reunion Island, ending up in the Arabian sea. The duty of the ship itself was simply to display the American flag in international waters. He ended his active career in the Navy in April 1974, and remained in the Naval reserve for two years.
For Waterman, serving as grand marshal is an opportunity to focus on veterans’ loved ones.
“It is such a sacrifice” to have a family member or significant other in service, he said. The extended time away from home is difficult for those serving and those left at home. More than anything, Waterman wants veterans to know he is thinking of them, especially those who may have a difficult home life, perhaps because of the after-effects of serving in combat.
For the parade, Waterman will be riding in a green Cadillac convertible with his wife, Rosalind (Roz) Waterman. The couple met during Waterman’s time in Newport. Roz Waterman is an East Greenwich native. They were married in May 1973 and celebrated their 50th anniversary this year.
You can watch the parade from a variety of locations. It steps off from Academy Field at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, and heads up Spring Street. From there it goes across Mawney Street to First Avenue to the World War II Memorial at Cliff Street, then on to Main Street, finishing at Town Hall.
Lillian Ranney is a freshman at East Greenwich High School.