The Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial will return to Roger Williams park this year and be on display and open to the public from Friday, May 25 until Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. This year, along with the display, OSDRI will host a Patriotic Concert in the Park followed by a laser light show funded in part by the Providence Tourism Council.
In 2016, Operation Stand Down RI launched the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial, which is a living memorial that honors the lives of those killed in service to our nation post 9/11 in the global war on terror. The memorial features 6,920 combat style boots each adorned with flags and a name placard depicting the lives of one of the fallen. Over the past two years, more than 20,000 people turned out to visit the Memorial, which filled the field in front of the Temple to Music in Roger Williams Park.
“Each year the Memorial has continued to grow as we continue to add boots for any new service members killed in U.S. Combat Operations,” said Dee Rothermel, president of the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial. “The memorial continues to be an in your face reminder of the true cost of freedom and we are proud to present this memorial to Rhode Islanders each Memorial Day.
The funding for the event has been provided by the following sponsors: Cardi’s Furniture and Matresses, Thomas C Slater Compassion Center, Blue Cross, Blue Shield RI, Seasons Corner Market, Washington Trust, Sousa Realty Group, and National Grid.
On Friday, May 25 at 9 a.m. the memorial will officially open to the public with the placing of the Rhode Island Boots by Rhode Island Gold Star Families and volunteers.
On May 27 at 6:30 p.m. we will be hosting a free Patriotic Concert in the Park the Governor’s Own 88th Army National Guard Band followed by a Patriotic themed laser lightshow at 8:30 p.m. There will also be six different food trucks on sight providing refreshments and IHeartRadio will be attending with some free giveaways. Funding, in part, for has been provided by the Providence Council for the Arts and Tourism.
The Boots on the Ground Memorial takes a tremendous amount of manpower to set up and support. The setup will take place over two days and include hundreds of volunteers from across the state including Rhode Island Gold Star Families, Rhode Island Blue Star Moms, National Grid, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Citizens Bank, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Rhode Island Army National Guard.
These volunteers will converge in the park on May 23 and May 24 to set up the boots. On May 23 from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. volunteers will set up the boots and set up will continue on May 24 at 8 a.m. until it is completed.