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By Jim Ignasher
On May 30, the Panzarella-Silvia Memorial was dedicated at the intersection of Whipple Road and Douglas Pike.
Army Lieutenant James F. Panzarella was the commanding officer of Company A, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. Army Staff Sergeant Clifford William Silvia was attached to the 25th Medical Battalion of the 25th Infantry Regiment. Both men were from Smithfield, and both were killed within a few weeks of each other while serving in Vietnam.
The dedication ceremony began with a parade which left the Town Hall at 8:45 a.m. The procession included family members of the servicemen, civic leaders, members of the Town Council, buglers and drummers, police and fire vehicles, as well as numerous townspeople showing their support.
David A. Brann of Greenville was serving aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Boxer.
Lieutenant Steven F. Wyman of Esmond was cited for his outstanding performance during his flight training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
U.S. Army SP4 Paul Trask was serving with the 124th Transportation Battalion.
U.S. Air Force Sergeant Angus E. Bryant of Spragueville returned home from duty in Germany where he’d been stationed for three years.
Ralph Iannitelli of Greenville was presented with the American Legion Reserve Officers training Corps Gold Medal for Military Excellence at the 16th Annual Air Force ROTC Presidents Review held at Denison University.
The Apple Blossom Club of Smithfield received the Carolyn B. Heffenreffer Silver Bowl Award, and the National Council Blue Rosette for Achievement Award in Home and Garden, for their work relating to civic beautification within the town of Smithfield. Among their recognized projects was the planting of nine pink-flowering Hawthorne trees in Greenville center.
Those present to receive the awards were Mrs. Harry Judson, Mrs. Joseph Casale, Jr., Mrs. Elwood Kelley, Mrs. Richard Illingsowrth, Mrs. Prescott Williams, Mrs. Adrien Leboissonniere, Mrs. Raymond Shirley. Mrs. Roland Smith, and Mrs. Lionel Jarvis.
On May 10 the Smithfield High School band gave a spring concert in the school auditorium.
Leon Carney of Greenville was elected President of the Smithfield Jaycees.
Boy Scout Troop 3 of Greenville held a Mother’s Day breakfast on May 12. Eagle Scout William LeBlanc was the main speaker. Michael Kiely and Richard Gill were voted to attend the Order of the Red Arrow, an honor for which they were selected by the rest of the troop.
Old Stone Bank was offering a Capitol Savings Account that would yield 5% interest per year.
Miss Linda E. Aitken of Greenville won the Miss University of Rhode Island beauty contest and the right to compete in the Miss Rhode Island pageant on June 22.
The 8th Annual Apple Blossom festival was held May 19th at the Smithfield High School. Entertainment included music, dancing, and a contest in which young women competed for the title of Miss Apple Blossom Queen of Rhode Island for 1968.
Perhaps there are some who remember a building that once stood on Route 44 in Harmony known as the “Cutler Stand”, a.k.a, “The Philip’s Place”, and “The Old Tavern”. The building, which dated to circa 1800, was slated for demolition in May of 1968, but certain architectural features such as doors, windows, and fire places were to be salvaged.
On May 22 the United States nuclear submarine, U.S.S. Scorpion, was lost with all hands about 400 miles west of Azores. Theories as to what happened range from a catastrophic internal malfunction to a torpedo strike. Today the remains of the vessel lie in 9,800 feet of water.