NORTH PROVIDENCE – Monday was a huge day in North Providence in more ways than one, with more people than ever turning out to honor fallen heroes, and the town putting on its grandest parade and after-event in recent memory.

“To stand up there in the amphitheater and address the crowd and thank the veterans for what they’ve done, it was breathtaking,” said Mayor Charles Lombardi. “It gave me great pleasure to honor our Armed Forces and the five veterans we showed off.”

Honorees in convertibles included recently-famous Tuskegee Airman Victor Butler, Vietnam veteran and Grand Marshal Michael Clapprood, as well as other past grand marshals.

The weather was perfect and everything came together for a “super, great day” with a post-parade event at the revamped Meehan Overlook at Notte Park, said Lombardi.

“Festivities like this are great for the town,” he said.

At a time when there’s so much tension in society and people are so angry with others, especially online, community-connecting events are needed, Lombardi told The Breeze.

“The more we can put people together to have a good time and for a purpose such as honoring the fallen and those veterans with us today, it’s so important,” he said.

The post-parade event at the park lasted a couple of hours, and Lombardi said Chief of Police Alfredo Ruggiero Jr. did a great job as master of ceremonies, with plenty of patriotic music and refreshments, including Del’s, to round it out.

The parade is now 14 years old, said Lombardi, started shortly after he became mayor. The town previously held an annual program at the Fruit Hill VFW. He had spent years participating in Lincoln’s traditional parade because his dry-cleaning plant is in that town, he said, and though there were doubts among some that it could translate to North Providence, there are no questions now. Having a parade that can end at such a nice facility as Notte Park, when they typically would just get in their car and go home, is an added bonus, Lombardi said.

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