Memorial Day Parade: Mix of Solemn & Celebratory

by | May 31, 2022

Above: Troop 2 scouts “roast” marshmallows. Troop 2 EG was founded 100 years ago this year.

Video and lots of photos

By Kate Foster

Summer in East Greenwich started off with a bang as the town held another successful  Memorial Day Parade. Along the parade route, generations of onlookers gathered to watch the procession of historic militias, the high school band, scout groups, and other marchers. 

Memorial Day may be the unofficial kickoff of summer but the East Greenwich parade focuses on honoring  those who gave their lives in service to our country. From veterans who fought years ago to their grandchildren who were watching the parade for the first time, there was a sense of community. People came to catch up with old friends and reminisce about parades past. 

Gov. Dan McKee and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos marched in Monday’s parade along with all five members of the EG Town Council – President Mark Schwager, Vice President Mike Donegan, Caryn Corenthal, Renu Englehart and Mike Zarrella – and the School Committee’s Alyson Powell, Gene Quinn, Kevin Murphy and Nicole Bucka.

Other notable participants were John Romano, 98, Navy veteran of WWII and the wars in Korea and Vietnam; and Ronald Sullman, 77, of the Kentish Guard. Sullman noted he’s been a member of the Kentish Guard for 63 years.

During his speech, Grand Marshal James Essex mentioned how heartened he was with the number of many young marching in the parade. He gave shoutouts to parade organizers and to those who have kept the parade tradition alive. He also spoke with solemnity of the importance of remembering those men and women who died while serving in the military. Following Essex at the podium, Cole Middle School 8th grader Sophia Speranza offered a flawless recitation of the Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln’s short speech at the battlefield of Gettysburg, which saw a staggering 50,000 casualties. 

Other participants included Master of Ceremonies Patrick Donovan, volunteer curator of the Varnum Armory Museum. The Rev. Tim Rich of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church provided the invocation and benediction. Avenger Band buglers Duncan Kling and Griffin Gee played taps at the WWII memorial at First and Cliff streets and Will Penhall and Darius Anvar played taps at Town Hall.

East Greenwich has held a Memorial Day Parade since at least 1893, when Lyman Aylesworth served as grand marshal.

Kate Foster is a freshman at East Greenwich High School.

Wreath laying at the WWII Memorial on First Avenue at Cliff Street.

Gov. Dan McKee & Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos.

Troop 2 EG included a banner of support for Lucas Magnelli, a Hanaford student who undergoing treatment for cancer.

Kentish Guard Ronald Sullman.

John Romano, 98, who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, rides in style.

Hill & Harbor Neighborhood Association members (from left) Camille Speca, Dan Speca and Kate Glass.

This is the first year the Hill & Harbor Neighborhood Assn. has marched in the Memorial Day Parade.

Resting a moment: Jane Johnson sits with Kentish Guard Ron Sullman at the bus stop on First Avenue.

Friends for life. From left, Alan Clarke, Pat Cleary and Lynn Krim, all members of the EGHS Class of 1958, watch the parade on First Avenue.

EGPD Officer Tom Cole stops to say hello to his wife, Megan, and sons Thomas and Brooks.

From left, Leila, Lena, Mackenzie and Hannah (neighbors from Potowomut) enjoy a rooftop view of the parade.

Scott and Linda Battista bring some style to the sidelines.

Taking a page from the past. Photo: Paula Glod

Rainbow Girls. Photo: Paula Glod

EGPD Color Guard. Photo: Paula Glod

Landon (left) and his brother Gavin love parades, say parents Mike and Jenna of Cranston, but they don’t love the loud noises!

Sophia Brown, 6.

A crowd watches the parade from in front of Walsh Associates, the oldest building on Main Street.

Father Tim Rich of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church offers a prayer at the closing ceremonies in front of Town Hall.

Grand Marshal James Essex shares his thoughts about Memorial Day.

Cole Middle School 8th grader Sophia Speranza recites the Gettysburg Address.

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June 1, 2022 6:20 am

Great job again by Leigh and her committee. The Parade had that small town hominess. Way to Go !

Paulette Miller
Paulette Miller
June 1, 2022 10:37 am

Beautiful coverage! Thanks, EG News. Thanks, parade & ceremony participants for making the day even more wonderful.

Richard Portno
Richard Portno
June 1, 2022 10:59 am

Thank you for the video of the parade. You did a great job of hitting all the important points. It was great to watch, and thank you to all the parade participants.

June 2, 2022 2:01 am

Thank you for all ceremonial and parade participants. My youngest son and I enjoyed it immensely.


God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!

Far called, our navies melt away,
On dune and headland sinks the fire,
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And, guarding, calls not Thee to guard;
For frantic boast and foolish word
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Rudyard Kipling

Although written in 1897 Kipling expresses pride in the British Empire the most expansive the world had ever seen. It also expresses anguish that all power is fleeting. 1919 would start to bring this prophecy come to fruition.

Mark Twain if I remember my readings correctly would be honored with an Honorary Doctorate at the same time as Kipling. Twain’s comment history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.

Ron sjullman
Ron sjullman
June 3, 2022 7:14 pm

What a great job Sophia did in reciting the Gettysburg Address. Excellent job Sophia from a long-time participant in the East Greenwich Memorial Day Parades.


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