By Bianca Buono
More than 24,000 flags were planted across the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter for Memorial Day. Families and friends of those killed in combat remembered them by visiting their grave sites.
"Kyle graduated from high school and just wanted to be a Marine,” said Jennifer Durkin, Kyle Coutu’s aunt.
Kyle Coutu of Pawtucket had just turned 20 years old when he was killed defending his country in Afghanistan.
Next to Coutu’s grave site is next to that of Dennis Weichel. He also died in Afghanistan while saving an Afghan girl from getting hit by a military truck.
"That was tough for us. It was the one gentleman that we lost on our deployment while we were in country,” said Kevin Goyette, Weichel’s friend and fellow serviceman.
Heroes like Coutu and Weichel were honored during a humbling Memorial Day ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter.
"There is no greater way to live a life than in selfless service of another,” said Governor Gina Raimondo.
Veterans watched as Governor Raimondo alongside other top leaders thanked them for their service. The magnitude of the holiday brought Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea to tears.
"I just want you to know that I commit myself everyday to honoring your loved ones,” Gorbea said.
Despite the day’s dark and rainy weather, dozens of people came to Exeter to pay their respects. It was a showing of support that didn’t go unnoticed by Gold Star families.
"It's just like so emotional that everybody is just being so thankful and proud of everyone that is lying here,” said Durkin.
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