In an emotional ceremony, members of "Rolling Thunder" brought the helmet, the rifle and boots, and the dog tags of a lost brother from the Vietnam War. It was all part of day–three of the traveling Vietnam Wall exhibit in Rhode Island.
"It is because of you that we remember them. And we cannot have allowed them to simply fade away into the mist of time. We keep them alive by ceremonies like this and by brining this wall to Providence," said Vietnam Veteran and Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Francis Flaherty.
The Army Band played patriotic songs, as friends and family searched the wall for the names of loved ones killed in Vietnam. The wall visit is sponsored by Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (www.OSDRI.org), which helps homeless soldiers in need, from all wars. Its leaders urged the federal government to fix the current crisis at Veterans Administration hospitals.
"I don't care if you are a Republican or Democrat, that doesn't matter to me. Take care of my brothers and sisters. That's why I started this in '93 with a couple of other veterans. We started it because the government wasn't taking care of our veterans,” said Tony DeQuattro, founder of Operation Stand Down RI.
“Specialist William Thomas Cavanaugh,” said the announcer, as one-by-one, he read the names of all Rhode Island heroes who died in Vietnam.
ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "In all, the names of 209 Rhode Islanders who died in Vietnam are etched on this wall. And it is hoped that with services like this, their service and their sacrifice, is never forgotten.