OSDRI cancels Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial and Gold Star Gala
NEWPORT, R.I (WLNE) – Due to state restrictions on large crowds, Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) canceled the fourth annual Gold Star Gala and fifth annual Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial.
“This decision does not come lightly to the OSDRI staff and the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Board. These events have such a deep meaning and impact to so many Rhode Islanders and it is with deep remorse that we are cancelling the Memorial. It is our intention that we will return to the park with the display on Memorial Day Weekend of 2021,” said Dee DeQuattro, founder of the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial and OSDRI Development Director.
Normally, the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial take the effort of hundreds of volunteers, and thousands visit every year.
Sadly, the growing health concerns have made an event of this magnitude not possible.
“While we cannot in good faith host our event this year, we encourage all Rhode Islanders to take a minute and reflect about the true meaning of Memorial Day this May 25th. The past few months have been difficult for many members of the community who are struggling with the restrictions caused by COVID-19. Many sacrifices have been made throughout our state and country but most do not compare to the sacrifice made by our nation’s heroes who laid down their lives in service of our nation,” said DeQuattro.
The memorial involves the display of nearly 7,000 military boots with flags and name placards representing the U.S. Service Members killed during post 9/11 conflicts.
The Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial was originally set for Friday, May 22, until Monday, May 25, at Fort Adams State Park.
The Gala was scheduled for May 22.
Any individuals or sponsors who bought tickets or supported the event can choose to be refunded or have the contribution applied toward next year’s event.