I am flooded with memories of so many Memorial Days. As a child it marked the end of the school year, the beginning of summer. I distinctly remember walking home with friends after the parade still in our scout uniforms, playing a pick-up game of baseball and in high spirits talking about the adventures that lie ahead. As I grew older it represented a connection to history, to my father, to my grandfather, to friends who served and to the people and place I lived. I have grown to know Warwick through these experiences and from the men and women whose stories embraced my heart.
Today due to circumstances our traditions are simplified, distilled to the essential and by doing that they take on greater meaning. Over the past few months, we have used bells as a symbol of hope and solidarity. Today the ringing of the bell to honor our departed on some level releases our grief, it intones loss but speaks of hope. With each ring of the bell is a life story, with each name spoken a recognition and recollection of individuals who touched our lives. We bow our heads, we think of these friends, these soldiers. We remember their laughter, their lives, and our vital relationships. We will miss them but their essence and spirit lives on. In the camaraderie of service there is so much shared. Today there is a clear understanding of those bonds as well as pride and love.
With the resonance of each strike of the bell we say goodbye. Goodbye dear soldier, dear patriot, goodbye and thank you. Thank you for your service to our country and for protecting the ideals we cherish. When we hear the sound let us draw our attention close and remember the remarkable individuals we have loved and called our brothers and sisters. This is a moment of remembrance and most importantly the celebration of their lives.
Due to the physical distancing restrictions during the COVID-19 health crisis this year’s Memorial Day parade has been canceled and the ceremony that will take place will be for Veterans and their families. In the spirit of creative resourcefulness, a video that recreates the Memorial Day Parade celebration will be available on the Village and Town of Warwick’s Facebook and websites. Please visit and share! The video was created by Eileen Patterson, Jeanine Wadeson and Kristina Hoti. This was an extraordinary effort and brings this important community event directly to us. Thank you!