NORTH KINGSTOWN, (WPRI) — Ceremonies were held around Southern New England on Monday to honor those who’ve bravely served our country.
For those families who’ve lost loved ones in the line of duty, the remembrances can be bittersweet.
“It’s really important that the public is able to see these kind of things so that they remember the purpose,” Melanie Cargilo said Monday.
Cargilo’s brother, U.S. Army Capt. Matthew August, was killed in January 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This Veterans Day was the first time Cargilo laid a wreath for her brother.
“Even though on Veterans Day I feel like it’s going to be a little bit easier, when the moment strikes, it’s hard,” she said. “You miss them and all the lost time, but you’re also so deeply grateful for everything.”
Cargilo’s father, Richard, was in the Army National Guard and served as Master of Ceremonies for Monday’s somber observance at Veterans Memorial Park in North Kingstown. Her brother, Mark, is a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force currently stationed in Germany.
Cargilo said she honors her brother’s memory through her two sons, who have never met their uncle.
“I’m sad I never got to meet him, but it was three years before I was born when he died,” 12-year-old Joshua Matthew Cargilo said. “We’re just happy that he served for us.”
For Gold Star families like Cargilo’s, every Memorial Day and Veterans Day is hard, but they say it’s important to honor the fallen and thank those who are still with us.
“We try to focus on being thankful on this day and obviously to remember my brother and the fallen, but that today is really a celebration because of everything they’ve done for us, willingly,” Melanie said.
“We thank them for serving for our country,” Joshua added.