Barrington (RI) Memorial Day Parade Restored To Veterans Group Ousted After Objecting to BLM Flag Flying Over Veterans Memorial
Ret. Lt. Col. Paul Dulchinos: “It was nice to see the Barrington Memorial Day Parade once again planned and executed by fellow Veterans to honor their fallen brothers. I think one could feel the difference in the tenor of this year’s event compared to last year. We focused more on keeping the observance as dignified and as solemn as possible.”
If there is any holiday that should not be politicized, it’s Memorial Day, the day we as a nation remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Unfortunately, in Barrington, Rhode Island, where Legal Insurrection is based, the former Town Council despicably pulled the Memorial Day Parade organizing duties from a veterans group that ran the parade for 68 years, after the group objected to the Town Council flying the BLM flag over the veterans memorial. It was a tale of the mania and intolerance that swept the nation in the summer of 2020 as BLM riots and protests rocked the nation.
We originally told the story in March 2022, Veterans Group Alleges Retaliation For Opposing Flying BLM Flag Over Barrington (RI) Veterans Memorial:
On March 7, 2022, the Barrington, Rhode Island, Town Council voted to have the Town Manager organize the 2022 Memorial Day Parade replacing the Barrington United Veterans Council, which had organized Memorial Day parades for 68 consecutive years (excluding 2020-2021 when the parade was canceled due to Covid restrictions).
The Veterans Council says it had no prior notice, was not consulted, and alleges retaliation by the Town Council after the Veterans Council and its leader Ret. Lt. Col. Paul Dulchinos vigorously opposed the flying of a Black Lives Matter flag and other political cause flags on the town flagpole at Town Hall, above the Veterans Memorial. That conflict, led by Dulchinos, rocked the town for over a year and continues to reverberate. Dulchinos, who served as the parade Master of Ceremonies for the past several years, was replaced by Frank “Scott” Douglas, a Naval War College Instructor who spoke out publicly in support of the Town Council’s decision to fly the BLM flag.
Dulchinos, in an email to Veterans Council members, asserted, among other things: “This appears to be retribution for the BUVC having previously taken a stance against flying a BLM flag over its Veterans Memorial.” The Town Council denies that, but the sequence of events and presently-known documentation make a plausible suggestion of viewpoint retaliation ….
It was a shameful moment in town history, compounded by an inappropriate parade run in the absence of the veterans group last year. It had a festive, carnival-like atmosphere.
But then in the elections of 2022, there was a turnover in the Town Council, and the primary instigator and his sidekick didn’t run for reelection. The result was still a majority Democrat council but more moderate, and the veterans council was restored to its parade duties. Sanity and fairness were restored.
We covered the restoration in February 2023, After Retaliation for Objecting To BLM Flag Flying Over War Memorial, Veterans Group Restored to Organizing Memorial Day Parade. We quoted Paul Dulchinos, President of BUVC, on the restoration:
Monday night at the monthly Town Council Meeting the Barrington Town Council voted to reinstate the Barrington United Veterans Council as lead planning organization for the Town’s Annual Memorial Day Parade. This restored a 6 decade uninterrupted tradition in which the BUVC planned and executed all of the Town’s Veterans Memorial Observances and Events per its TC recognized 1954 Chater.
As part of the resolution to restore its lead, the BUVC agreed to reach out, invite and work with those that helped plan the Town’s parade last year after the BUVC had been stripped of its leadership role following a contentious two years where the BUVC had openly expressed opposition to the Town Council’s decision to fly controversial, unofficial partisan political banners under the US Flag at the Town Hall over a Veterans Memorial.
The BUVC was supportive of this caveat as their membership has always been open to any Veteran who resides in town and has served his country honorably. In addition, the BUVC has never prohibited any community group or organization from participating in the town’s annual Memorial Day in the 66 years that it conducted a parade. All organizations and groups that desired to march in past BUVC run parades, completed applications in which they agreed to follow guidelines that maintained the solemnity and decorum of the day. BUVC parades are explicitly apolitical and all politicking and/or political advocacy during its execution is strictly prohibited. We owe that to those we memorialize on this day, those that gave their lives in defending the freedoms we hold dear.
I view this as a significant step in the right direction towards reconciliation between the BUVC and the Barrington Town Council and I hope this will help heal some of the divisiveness created over the town’s controversial flag policy.
The parade was held today under the guidance of the veterans council, with numerous groups participating.
Paul Dulchinos provided this statement to Legal Insurrection:
“It was nice to see the Barrington Memorial Day Parade once again planned and executed by fellow Veterans to honor their fallen brothers. I think one could feel the difference in the tenor of this year’s event compared to last year. We focused more on keeping the observance as dignified and as solemn as possible. This year’s theme was chosen to specifically honor our Greatest Generation. A WW2 Veteran was selected to serve as our parade’s honorary Grand Marshall, two additional WW2 Veterans rode as VIPs, and the keynote address told the story of those service members from the community that lost their lives during WW2.”
In his keynote speech at the ceremonies, Dulchinos paid homage to those Barrington residents KIA during WWII:———————–
Each Memorial Day we try to focus on the lives of a small number of individuals who gave their lives for our country, and whose stories we have followed for several years. In this way we put human faces and life stories honoring all those who paid the ultimate price.
Click on each hyperlinked heading for prior posts about the person.
- CIA Officer Johnny “Mike” Spann
- Lt. Roslyn Schulte
- Cpl. Jonathan Daniel Porto
- Capt. Billie Taylor Presson
- Christopher David Horton
- Cornell Class of 1944
- The fallen, known and unknown
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