RI hopes to dedicate memorial monument to Gold Star families this fall

South County

EXETER, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Rhode Island Gold Star Families is hoping to raise $75,000 to build a new memorial for their loved ones later this year.

So far, the group has raised more than $13,000 for the memorial, which would not only honor the Rhode Islanders who made the ultimate sacrifice, but their families as well.

While participating in the state’s 47th Annual Memorial Day Commemoration at the Rhode Island Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery Monday afternoon, Gov. Dan McKee said he hopes construction will begin on the monument this fall.

“We focus on a lot of the Gold Star families … because we know those families suffer every single day,” McKee said. “There is no reason that we’re not going to be able to raise these dollars and the people of Rhode Island are going to support it.”

Memorial Day was the first holiday Rhode Islanders were able to gather for parades and ceremonies with no restrictions.

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.

“People haven’t forgotten. They realize how important it is to continue this honored tradition,” she said.

Regina Roberts, co-chair of Rhode Island Gold Star Families, and Germain-Lundh helped McKee hang two wreaths during Monday’s ceremony.

Roberts spoke with 12 News while visiting the Boots on the Ground memorial last Friday. She said having a Gold Star memorial in Rhode Island would mean a lot to her and other families who have lost a loved one.

“For us to have a location or place to feel some sort of peace, to recognize all of the families that have lost a loved one throughout this war. It’s the only monument that would be erected for the families,” Roberts said.

Germain-Lundh said Memorial Day should serve as a reminder to everyone that freedom isn’t free.

“To Gold Star family members, to those who have lost brothers and sisters, there’s nothing happy about Memorial Day,” Germain-Lundh said. “It is, in fact, to honor our fallen.” 

“If you want to feel Memorial Day, go to Boots on the Ground in Newport, come to [the Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery],” she continued. “That’s how you feel what Memorial Day is.”

Anyone interested in donating to the memorial can do so online.

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