Annual RI Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial goes virtual for 2020
NEWPORT, RI (WLNE) – The annual Boots on The Ground For Heroes Memorial is going virtual for 2020 due to COVID-19.
Every year, the memorial puts on a display of 6,995 military boots with flags and name placards. Those placards represent the U.S. Service Members killed post 9/11 during the Global War on Terror.
But this year the memorial has been forced to adapt to an alternative virtual form. That’s due to the state and federal restrictions on large scale gatherings because of COVID-19.
The memorial takes hundreds of volunteers to set up and thousands of people visit it every year. Dee DeQuattro, Development Director of Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) says recent public health concerns have made an event of this magnitude impossible to put on.
The memorial grows each year due to the ongoing war in the Middle East. This year, 39 names have been added, said DeQuattro.
The names of those U.S. Service Members lost are going to be featured in this video presentation:
“Despite this setback this year, we do intend to return to Fort Adams State Park during Memorial Day 2021 with our annual display,” said DeQuattro. “While we are disappointed to be unable to present the full display this year, we know that with the help of Rhode Islanders we can honor our nation’s heroes virtually and remind the public about the men and women who gave their lives in service of our nation.”
DeQuattro added that OSDRI is calling on the public to ‘flood the internet’ with photos of fallen service members. Or photos of themselves or their family members visiting the memorial in years past and use the #BOTG while also tagging ‘Operation Stand Down Rhode Island.’