EXETER, R.I. (WPRI) — For Rhode Island Gold Star Families, this Memorial Day was extra special.

Gov. Dan McKee unveiled a brand new monument during the 48th Annual Memorial Day Commemoration dedicated to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Gold Star Families monument, located in the Rhode Island Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Exeter, honors families “who sacrificed a loved one for our freedom.”

“We’re a better state, a stronger state, thanks to the service of the men and women who’ve served from our state,” McKee said. “We’re here to remember the soldiers who never returned home and to remember the families who stare at an empty chair at the dining table.”

Lynn St. Germain-Lundh, whose son Sgt. Brian St. Germain died in 2006 while serving his second tour in Iraq, was among the many Gold Star family members who took part in Monday’s ceremony.

She urged everyone to remember what Memorial Day is truly about.

“To Gold Star Families, every day is Memorial Day,” St. German-Lundh said. “Help me, help us, make the definition of Memorial Day mean more than just some words put down on paper.”

“When you put up a Gold Star monument, when you have commemorations like this at the cemetery, you can’t help but feel that they’re helping you remember the loss of your loved ones and those who went before and after them,” she continued.

Next year, the annual Memorial Day ceremony will take place next to the monument.