Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial goes virtual to honor fallen service members

East Bay
12 Salutes Local Veterans on WPRI.com

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — After the COVID-19 pandemic forced Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) to cancel its 5th Annual Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial, the organization had to find a different way to honor those who gave their lives in service of our country.

On Thursday, OSDRI released a video presentation featuring the 29 Rhode Islanders who have been killed in the line of duty during the Global War on Terror, along with a call to action for military members and veterans, along with their families and friends.

OSDRI Director of Development Dee DeQuattro said the goal is to remind everyone about the sacrifices of our service members and the true meaning of Memorial Day.

“We are calling on the public to help us flood the internet with photographs of our fallen heroes or photographs of themselves or their family members visiting the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial in years past and use the #BOTG and tag Operation Stand Down Rhode Island,” she said.

In years past, OSDRI would put thousands of pairs of military boots with flags and name placards on display to represent every U.S. service member killed overseas since 9/11.

This year’s event, which cannot be held due to restrictions on large gatherings, would’ve featured 6,995 sets of boots, including 39 new ones. The names of those fallen service members are included in the video.

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