Memorial Day ceremony at veterans cemetery honors those who served and sacrificed

EXETER, R.I. (WLNE)- America flags covered 280 acres Monday at The Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter to honor the brave men and women who served and sacrificed.

After many Memorial Day ceremonies were held virtually or not at all a year ago, this year hundreds of elected officials, veterans and families gathered at the cemetery for a proper salute to our fallen heroes.

One of those heroes was Rhode Island native Holly Charette.

Holly was a marine who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Iraq in 2005.

Holly’s mother Regina Roberts was part of many Gold Star families in attendance at today’s ceremony to remember their loved ones who gave their life serving our county.

Roberts said Memorial Day is much more than a celebration on the last Monday in May.

“Everyday is Memorial Day when you lose a child in war. You may see more people that you haven’t seen in a while because they come around on Memorial Day but your heart is always in mourning,” said Roberts.

Today also marked the first holiday without COVID restrictions.

Gov. Dan McKee said he was glad to see veterans and gold star families honored in person.

“The families who had people who served really appreciate the fact that people came out here. We encourage people to take that moment to remember,” McKee said.

Roberts told ABC6 only other Gold Star families can understand what she goes through.

However, she offered advice as to how others can pay respect.

“Go to a veterans cemetery and say their name. Walk to the stone say that soldiers name and salute. That way they are not forgotten.”

Currently the cemetery plans to add a special memorial that would specifically honor Gold Star families.

That project is expected to be completed by October.

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