Vets Park focus of Memorial Day parade, Blue Star dedication

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Warwick Veterans Memorial Park in front of Veterans Junior High School will be busier than usual this Memorial Day.

As it has been for years, the park is the site of the review stand for the Warwick Veterans Council parade that kicks off at 9:15 a.m. on Monday, May 29 at Bishop Hendricken High School. Later that day the Chatham Village Garden Club will dedicate a Blue Star Memorial at the park.

The Warwick Veterans Council parade is a long-standing tradition; it’s been around for about 20 years now, said Council President, Tony Rodrigues.

“We will have the ‘Float of the Unknown Soldier,’ a train from the American legion, fire trucks, tow trucks, two or three honor guards, and humvees coming from the National Guard,” said Rodrigues, “Of course there will also be lots of veterans marching, as well as many Girl and Boy Scouts.”

The bands from Toll Gate and Pilgrim will provide the music, said Rodrigues. Governor Gina Raimondo, Congressman Jim Langevin, Mayor Scott Avedisian, state representatives, and city council members are all expected to be in attendance.

“There are many groups that haven’t committed yet, but may show up,” added Rodrigues, “I won’t have a final list until the week before.”

Among these potential groups, are the Blue Star mothers, who will be at the installation of the Blue Star Memorial at Veterans Memorial Park that same day.

The Blue Star Memorial Program, which was founded in 1945, is also a long-standing tradition. It was inspired by the American tradition to display a Blue Star Service Banner when a loved one is serving in the Armed Forces.

“An honor guard will be present, and there will be brief speeches by a veteran, and a Blue Star member, followed by refreshments,” said Blue Star Chairman, Janice Marcello.

Thirty-five invites have been sent out, but Marcello says there could be up to 100 guests.

“The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. so as to not interfere with the parade,” said Marcello. Similar to the parade, the goal of this Blue Star Marker is to show love and appreciation for the Armed Services of America.

“We love to do this parade because it keeps the memory alive, it honors those who have died in the wars, but also those who are currently serving,” said Rodrigues, “It’s important to remember that people serving today are heroes too.”

“We’d love to see a big crowd come out to support us,” said Rodriguez, who encourages parents to bring their children along, stating, “That is what truly keeps the memory alive, informing the younger generations.”

Anyone still interested in participating should contact Tony Rodriguez at 919-8951, or Paul Kelley at 738-1891.

“We should have a very good parade this year, and a lot of participation,” said Rodriguez, “I just hope the weather’s on our side.”

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