Gold Star Mothers bond over fallen heroes in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The names of soldiers who were lost in the War on Terror were called out at a somber ceremony in Roger Williams Park on Friday.

The Boots on the Ground for Heroes memorial returned to the park this year, honoring the sacrifices of 7,000 Americans with a pair of boots for each soldier killed in action since 9/11.

“We belong to a club that nobody wants to belong to,” said Donna August, a Gold Star Mother who lost her 28-year-old son Matthew August in Iraq in 2004.

August and Donna Coutu, another Gold Star Mother, share an unbreakable bond; not only do the two moms have the same name, but their sons were both named Matthew.

“Matthew was killed in Iraq June 27, 2005 by a sniper on the streets of Baghdad,” Coutu said. “Wanted to be a soldier. Took care of his men. Just a great guy. I mean he was a big gentle giant that everybody loved.” Her son was 23.

“He loved his men and he wanted to serve,” August added. “He wanted bring his men home. But he was the only one who didn’t come home. He was very special and I miss him so much.”

The boots, each adorned with a soldiers name an an American flag, will remain at Roger Williams Park until Memorial Day.