After being limited to a brief ceremony last year due to the pandemic, the Nicholas P. Lesando Jr. American Legion Post 214 resumed the annual Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies for 2021 on Monday, May 31
After the traditional parade down Main Street veterans of both American Legion Post 214 and VFW Post 4662 rode and marched together to hold ceremonies at Warwick and St. Stephen’s Cemetery followed by the annual Warwick Fire Department service at the Firemen’s Memorial in Veterans Memorial Park.
The Grand Marshal for this year was U.S. Army veteran Tony Cosimano, who served as a combat helicopter pilot in Viet Nam
At Warwick Cemetery American Legion Post 214 Commander Stan Martin conducted ceremonies, which began with an invocation by Post 214 Chaplain Joe Hilderbrandt.
Then, in a quiet and touching moment, and assisted by past Commander Jerry Schacher, First Vice Commander Tom Brennan read the names of 65 local veterans who had passed away since last year.
Eagle Scout Sebastian Brand then read President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Girl Scout Elizabeth Verboys related the history of playing TAPS.
Post 214 past Commander Walt Parkinson continued a tradition he began years ago by addressing the scouts and all the youngsters gathered in the cemetery to teach them the importance of service, not only in the military but in many other ways that contribute to their community and their country.
Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton spoke about the sacrifices of those we honor on this day dating back to the Revolution. And Mayor Michael Newhard especially thanked the veterans for continuing the tradition last year with a substitute ceremony during the pandemic.
The VFW Post 4662 services, conducted by Commander Jose Morales, also the last guest speaker, followed with the laying of wreaths at the VFW monument.
The ceremonies at Warwick Cemetery concluded with a riffle salute and the playing of Taps. .
They were followed by services at St. Stephen’s Cemetery, conducted by Father Jack Arlotta, pastor of the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr.
The parade then continued down Forester Avenue to the Firemen’s Monument at Veterans Memorial Park where members of the Warwick Volunteer Fire Dept. conducted a memorial service.
During that ceremony, Air Force veteran Barry O’Neil, who also serves as a chaplain during many Fire Department ceremonies, read the names of the volunteer fire fighters from Warwick who had lost their lives during military service while fighting for the country.
Asst. Chiefs Michael Contaxis and Andrew Lemin then placed a wreath at the Firemen’s Monument.