2007-05-24 / Front Page

Memorial day events scheduled

Parade down Narragansett Ave. steps off at 10 a.m., Monday By Dotti Farrington

Next Monday's Memorial Day services will commemorate the lives of 28 Jamestown-related military veterans who died during the past year, who will be added to a list of approximately 400 deceased veterans on the rolls compiled over the years by the local posts of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Veterans themselves will prepare for the day's events Monday from 7 to 8 a.m. at the 10-year-old Veterans Memorial Square on the waterfront at East Ferry. Weather permitting, they will install the removable, 15-foot poles and raise approximately 85 casket flags, each embossed on a border with the name of a local deceased veteran. Post members will return that afternoon to lower and remove the flags, and remove the poles.

The flags are provided by the veterans' families to the local Legion and VFW Posts. Any family who wishes to provide a casket flag is invited to contact officers of the posts, which meet monthly at the Grange/Senior Center Hall on West Street. The flags are stored there by the posts for use at veteran ceremonies.

Details of these activities were explained by Donald Richardson, committeeman for the Memorial Day morning ritual. He is a member of both Posts, and was an infantryman who served with the Army during the Occupation of Japan, from 1946 to 1948. He was also responsible for proper disposal of the old grave flags, by burning them last week.


James McLaughlin, Legion committeeman, reported he and comrades from both posts shared the annual replacement of all flags on local veteran graves several days ago in preparation for Memorial Day.

McLaughlin plans to read the roll of the veterans who died dur- ing the past year as part of the services. He tallied five years of active duty with an Army transport unit during World War II and as a medic in the Korean War, plus four years in the reserves, leaving as a staff sergeant.

Public events

The main, public Memorial Day events will feature the annual parade, with two stops for ceremonies. Peter Drury, who retired in 1981 as an Army lieutenant colonel after 26 years with the field artillery, will be grand marshal, a service he often has performed for local parades.

Marchers will step off Monday at 10 a.m. from the Lawn Avenue School, going south from the school to Narragansett Avenue. Marchers will proceed to the town cemetery at Four Corners (Narragansett at North Main Road) for ceremonies and then resume the march east on Narragansett Avenue to Veterans Memorial Square for further ceremonies.

Participants are reminded that formation begins at 9:30 a.m., according to Edward Morinho, American Legion coordinator for 30 years of the annual event. He served in the Air Force from 1943 to 1946, starting as a crew chief and engineer with B17 aircraft and discharged as an acting first sergeant. He and two island comrades, Francis "Jim" West and Stephen Zweir, hold national commendations for 60 years of active Legion membership.

Everyone invited

Morinho explained that local veterans invite all residents as individuals or as members of town organizations to join in the Memorial Day parade. He said invitees respond by coming to the parade formation.

The parade and ceremonies include marching and riding veterans; clergy from all island churches; police, firefighter and medical rescue squad personnel with their emergency apparatus; Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts; local school students; town officials; and many community organization members, including the Jamestown Community Band that provides the bugler for traditional "Taps."

Richardson said that all persons interested in honoring the veterans of the town and the nation are invited to join the line of march, or to line the parade route, as they annually do.

Ceremonies, speakers

Schedules for stops at Four Corners and at Veterans Memorial Square call for: invocations and benedictions; drum rolls; firing squad salutes; bugling of "Taps;" and singing of the traditional version of "The Star Spangled Banner." Retired Navy Captain Cliff Largess, a former fighter pilot, will address those gathered at the cemetery.

At the square, flowers will be placed on the water to memorialize all service personnel lost at sea; and new casket flags will be raised on new posts added that morning.

Current Post commanders are Bob Edgar for the American Legion, an Air Force veteran who served during the Vietnam War; and Bruce Livingston for the VFW, retired Marine Colonel.

Parking, traffic

Police Lt. William Donovan reported that Narragansett Avenue, from North Main Road east to East Ferry, will be posted and closed for parking on both sides of the road Monday from 6 a.m. to the close of the program. He said a detailed list of road closures has not been scheduled. He said motorists need to be prepared for short traffic interruptions along the parade route, and at side streets in the immediate area, as will be needed while the procession is in progress.

Sidewalk sales

Town Councilors earlier this month approved licenses for three Memorial Day sales: Central Baptist Church, 99 Narragansett Avenue, baked goods and raffle tickets, 9 a.m. to noon; Humane Society of Jamestown, at 29 Narragansett Avenue, clothing and books, 9 a.m. to noon; and Jamestown Historical Society, 42 Narragansett Avenue, books, tiles and caps, 10 a.m. to noon.

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