Police Parade on Sunday will be Boston Strong

This year's Grand Marshal for the annual Aquidneck Island Police Parade is "Boston Strong."

The annual Aquidneck Island National Police Parade is this Sunday and this year, parade organizers are especially proud to have Officer Richard Donahue on hand.

Donahue suffered a near-fatal gunshot wound during the shootout with the Boston Marathon bombers last year.

"We couldn't be any prouder to say a special thank you to officer Donahue," the parade committee said on its Web site.

And the Grand Marshal of the parade, because "it was almost impossible to recognize any single officer as this year's Grand Marshal," is simply "Boston Strong."

Officials from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Watertown and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police Department will be represented along with a phalanx of local police departments.

The event typically draws huge crowds that line the sidewalks and lawns along the parade route.

It's one of only a few such parades around the country and it includes 180 units representing more than 50 police departments across the country — in addition to contingents from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police.

In fact, it's an opportunity to catch some of the most prestigious and exclusive police units in the country, including the New York PD Emerald Society Bagpipe Band, the U.S. Marine Corps 8th and I Marching Unit and many others.

It's the 30th consecutive year that the Aquidneck Island National Police Parade has made the first weekend in May something special.

This year, along with honoring slain MIT Campus Officer Sean Collier, the parade will honor Det. Sgt. Frank J. Lema Sr., a member of the Naval Station Newport Police Department, who was killed when he was struck by a car on base last September.

Lema was a former Middletown police officer.

The parade begins with a memorial ceremony at 11:30 a.m. at the Hampton Inn and Suites at 317 West Main Road in Middletown. It continues through to downtown Newport and completes at Washington Square.

You can check out a history of the parade, the 2014 parade orders, participants and more at the police parade's Web site at www.policeparade.org


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