7,000 boots serve as memorial for fallen service members

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A memorial honoring the service men and women killed in protection of our country was set up Saturday in Providence.

At Roger Williams Park, there is a ‘Boots on the Ground’ display – literally an endless sea of American flags and military boots – dedicated to those who gave their lives protecting our freedoms since New York and the country were attacked almost 15 years ago.

There are 6,844 boots in the display and each one is tethered to a placard with the name of an American whose life was cut short since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

“This is what Memorial Day is all about,” said Dee Dequattro of Operation Stand Down. “The community coming together to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by our heroes for the cause of freedom.”

A very special circle of boots sits at the front of the display and represents each Rhode Islander killed.

“As a governor, I thank you,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said during the dedication event on Saturday. “As a Mother my heart goes out to you and I want you all to know that we will never forget the sacrifice of you and your children, and we continue to honor them every day.”

“At the end of the day, it is relevant that our nation’s citizens recognize that American service members have fought valiantly for our ideals and in some instances have lost their lives in that pursuit,” said Adjutant General Christopher Callahan of the Rhode Island National Guard.

The display is open until Monday at 4 p.m. The organizer of the event has asked that people be respectful as they enter the park.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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