December 5, 2021

Part 9: summary of the Nov. EPVME Re-dedication events

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Saturday, Nov. 6th was a beautiful day for the 60th anniversary double re-dedication ceremony of the EP Veterans Memorial Expressway (EPVME, I- 195) at Pierce Memorial Stadium.

The Riverside Scouts, with their leader, and Trisha Rossi (marching in memory of her father, Charles Pringle, Sr., Navy) and retired Army veteran LTC Nancy Poor, presented the USA flags, RI flag, U. S. eagle, and wreaths of flowers. A chair draped in black was reserved for our MIA/POW veterans, PFC Gordon Reid, SSG Francis Trahan, and CPL Russell Woodard, Jr.

Rev. Joseph A. Escobar delivered the invocation. The Scouts displayed a large USA flag during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mayor DaSilva and Navy Lieutenant Commander Kasim Yarn delivered greetings to our attending veterans, military members, and to their families and friends. Additional words of gratitude to our veterans were shared from those who could not attend: the RI National Guard, RIDOT, and bridge memorial veterans' family members in Michigan, California, Texas, and Florida. A delegation of EP Firemen came to express their sympathy to the families and to honor our veterans and military members. Many veterans were/are members of the EP Fire and Police Departments.

Ms. Dale Magnuson sang "God Bless America".

A brief "history of the memorials along the EP expressway from 1931-2017", that were re-dedicated on Nov. 6th, can be read on the EPVMER2021 website.

All sang one verse of "America".

Appreciation was expressed to the committee members, ceremony participants, and then our guest, the Director of Veterans Affairs, Kasim Yarn, was introduced.

Bridge 12 over Warren Ave. leaving the East Shore Expressway is a memorial to PFC Gordon S. Reid, KIA WWII, Army. His two nephews participated in this ceremony.

Gordon Reid read the dedication text for the 15 EPVME memorial bridges and Andrews Brothers' exit. Then, he and Gordon Hubbard (substituting for the highway department) read each bridge location while a family member stated the name of the veteran for whom the bridge was named. Director Kasim Yarn read the veteran's name if no family member was present. The bridge locations and veterans’ names are on the EPVMER2021 website and were listed in the Nov. 11th issue of the EP Post.

Gordon Hubbard read the dedication text for the EP Military Service Honor Roll. The virtual list (on the EP Historical Society website, ephist.org, under "downloads") documents some, not all, of our residents who served our country. This expressway honors all EP veterans, of all wars and military events, and active military members.

Special “thank you for your service” to several attending included Mike Znosko, James Sullivan, Robert Soderlund, Jim Hibbert, Napolean Gonsalves, and the families of Gary Wood, Mark Vieira, Jr. (active duty), Kyle Meehan (active duty), Norman Pike, Zenie Zenevich, Charles Unkuski, and the Amaral Brothers.

Susan Cady, the compiler of the honor roll names, presented it to Mayor Robert DaSilva. (On Tuesday, Nov. 9, this EP Military Service Honor Roll was re-presented to the City of EP, with Mayor DaSilva, Nancy Moore of the EP Historical Society, and Susan standing in front of the war memorial beside City Hall.)

A salute to the dead, the firing of a canon, was courtesy of the Ancient Little Neck Cemetery. All sang the National Anthem. Following the closing prayer, Ms. Magnuson sang "You'll never walk alone" and Mr. Douglas Wood played "Taps" on the trumpet.

To complete the transportation-veterans theme, nine antique cars, coordinated by Mr. Joe Medeiros, paraded around the veterans' families seated on the football field.
It was a true re-enactment of the 1961, as well as the 1931, dedications of the war memorials along the EP Veterans' Memorial Expressway.

On another beautiful sunny Sunday, Nov. 7th, family, a neighbor, friends, and Senator Valarie Lawson gathered next to the Broadway exit ramp to dedicate it for the four Andrews Brothers. Major George, Sergeant James, and Corporal Albert served in the Army, while Storekeeper 3rd class Joseph served in the Navy Seabees during WWII. They all returned home safely. In 1957, their gardens and house were removed to create the west bound Broadway exit ramp at the end of Freeborn Ave. Photos of the houses along Broadway before they were moved to create the freeway were on display. The essay written by Sgt James Andrews in 1944 "What I am fighting for" was read. The beautiful red, white, and blue flowered wreath with gold cord, U. S. A. flag, and Navy ribbon, created by Trisha Rossi, was placed at the base of the sign.

Following this dedication, the public visited the new bridge memorial signs from Valley St. to Broadway. Attached to each signpost were colorful flowers and a photo of the veteran. Arlene Sullivan and Maureen Medeiros spoke with visitors at Arlene's brother-in-law PFC Frederick Slade's memorial sign under the Veterans' Parkway.

Thank you to all who went the extra mile to attend, for your support, and donations to www.OSDRI.org.  Thank you to the EP Reporter and the EP Post.

See text and photos of this live event (as they are shared), the display in the City Hall lobby, and the stay-at-home veterans' tributes and EPVME ceremony at
www.sites.google.com/view/epvmer2021  

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