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  • Warwick Observes Veterans Day at Veterans Memorial Park

    [CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] Warwick Veterans Council President Tony Rodriques and City Councilor Donna Travis hang a wreath on the War on Terror Memorial after Veterans Day ceremonies Nov. 11, 2017.

    [CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] Warwick Veterans Council President Tony Rodriques and City Councilor Donna Travis hang a wreath on the War on Terror Memorial after Veterans Day ceremonies Nov. 11, 2017.

    WARWICK, RI — Veterans Day was brisk and sunny for the handful of officials and veterans who gathered at Veterans Memorial Park outside Warwick Veterans Memorial Jr. High School Saturday.
    Officials gathered included Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson(D-Dist. 21, Warwick), Warwick City Councilmen Ed Ladouceur, Timothy Howe, Richard Corley, Jeremy Rix, Council President Joseph Solomon Sr. and Councilwoman Donna Travis. Veterans Council. Warwick Veterans Council President Tony Rodrigues and and Treasurer Peter Peckham also attended the ceremony.
    The ceremony was customarily brief, with a short speech from Disabled American Vets (DAV) Chaplain Jimmy Hickey followed by hanging a wreath on the Rhode Island War on Terrorism Memorial at the center of the park.
    After the ceremony, Vella-Wilkinson pointed out the new new Cold War monument, which will soon bear a flagpole flying an embroidered “honor and remember” flag.
    Rick Cascella has donated the rock for  the monument. Three of the seminal quotes from the Cold War era will be engraved on the monument, Vella Wilkinson said, first, from Winston Churchill, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”
    Second, from President Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

    Finally, another quote from Reagan, she said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.,” referencing the Berlin Wall in 1987. Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms, and Reagan’s support of East German protests, led to the wall’s demolition in 1989, according to an analysis of the fall of the Berlin Wall by Liam Hoare in The Atlantic.

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    The anniversary of the end of the Cold War is Dec. 26, 1991, Vella-Wilkinson said, but a ceremony observing it will likely be scheduled soon, before the holidays are over, to ensure the greatest number of people can attend.

    Participation was also on Peckham’s mind as he lamented the lack of younger veterans participating in the veterans community and organizations. Peckham, in his 70s, took over his treasurers position from his predecessor 10 years ago, who has since passed away. Peckham said the organization is one dedicated to community service and the remembrance of veterans deeds and sacrifice through ceremonies and also upkeep of the city’s many war memorials.
    The organization also organizes the City’s annual parade, planning for which usually begins after the first of the year.  Any group or individual who wishes to participate is asked to contact Tony Rodrigues at (401) 919-8951 or Peckham at 401-943-2189. Peckham said participation and new memberships are welcome, and simply being a part of the group willing to lend a hand is enough.
    “You don’t have to hold an office,” Peckham said.
    New members are sorely needed, Peckham pointed out, as Rodrigues and himself are among the few remaining active members.
    Vella-Wilkinson also noted that the Woonsocket Veterans Memorial Museum has the uniform worn by famous Rhode Islander Nathaniel Green in the Spanish-American War. She said she is looking forward to borrowing the exhibit to showcase at Warwick City Hall soon. In the meantime, interested history buffs can view it at the Woonsocket location, on the second floor of the French Genealogical Society building, 78 Earle Street, Woonsocket, RI.
    [CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] City Councilors and Warwick Veterans Council members gathered to observe Veterans Day Nov. 11, 2017.

    [CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] City Councilors and Warwick Veterans Council members gathered to observe Veterans Day Nov. 11, 2017.

    [CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The stone selected as the Cold War Memorial has been placed in Veterans Memorial Park.

    [CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The stone selected as the Cold War Memorial has been placed in Veterans Memorial Park.

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