‘Boots on the Ground’ memorial honors fallen soldiers, draws crowd

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The grounds of Roger Williams Park are lined this Memorial Day Weekend with red, white and blue.

‘Boots on the Ground’ honors the 6,875 soldiers who died in the line of duty following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. At the park, organizers have set up a boot, American flag, and name tag to describe each soldier’s sacrifice.

The display was created and organized by Dee DeQuattro and her fiancé — former Marine, David Rothermel.

“When we went to the graves, I saw what that meant for [Rothermel] him,” DeQuattro said. “And I was thinking, I want him to be able to visit all his friends. He lost 28 while he was serving.”

Rothermel is a Warwick native, who enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from high school. He was deployed three times – twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.

“To go out there, read off their name, read their story, and not have them lost in the history books. It’s one of the most important things of this project to me,” Rothermel said.

DeQuattro tells Eyewitness News she estimates the entire display cost close to $10,000. Her and Rothermel received donations.

The couple says the display will be up at Roger Williams Park until Tuesday morning. They hope to take it on the road in the future.