Military Gear & Army Surplus Gear Blog

‘Boots on the Ground’ memorial honors fallen soldiers, draws crowd

‘Boots on the Ground’ memorial honors fallen soldiers, draws crowd


(JP) GOOD EVENING. FIRST TONIGHT — WE REMEMBER THE REASON FOR THIS LONG HOLIDAY STRETCH… THE AMERICANS — AND THEIR LOVED ONES — WHO PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE… THOUSANDS OF MILITARY BOOTS CHILLINGLY DOTTING ROGER WILLIAMS PARK THIS WEEKEND. THEY REPRESENT 16 YEARS OF LOSS… MEN AND WOMEN WHO DIED DEFENDING THE HOMEFRONT. INCLUDING THOSE FROM RHODE ISLAND. EYEWITNESS NEWS REPORTER CAROLINE GOGGIN HAD A CHANCE TO TOUR THE SITE. SHE JOINS US TONIGHT. CAROLINE? THIS BACKDROP HAS AN INCREDIBLE BACK STORY. IT STARTS WITH WARWICK NATIVE, DAVID ROTHERMEL. HE ENLISTED IN THE MARINES AFTER HIGH SCHOOL. AND WAS DEPLOYED THREE TIMES — TWICE TO IRAQ, ONCE TO AFGHANISTAN. NOW BACK AT HOME — HE’S MAKING SURE HIS FRIENDS LOST OVERSEAS, ARE NEVER FORGOTTEN IN THE STATES. DAVID ROTHERMEL WALKS THE GROUNDS OF ROGER WILLIAMS PARK. SQUATTING DOWN TO READ THE NAMES — AND REMEMBER THE FACES. “so we’ll start with him. We’ll start with good ol Nick.” MARINE CORPORAL NICHOLAS XIARHOS. “So I met Nick when he was in Ramadi, and I was 119.” THE TWO DEPLOYED — BUT THEIR TIME TOGETHER WAS CUT SHORT IN JULY OF 2009. “he died by an IED in Afghanistan.” XIARHOS IS ONE OF 6,857 MEN AND WOMEN REMEMBERED AT THIS SITE. IT’S A TRIBUTE TO THE SOLDIERS KILLED POST 9-11. AND THE ONES LIKE ROTHERMEL, WHO LIVE WITH THAT LOSS. “it was for him and everyone like him.” DEE DEQUATTRO IS ROTHERMEL’S FIANCE. ALL OF THIS — WAS HER IDEA. “When we went to the grave, I saw the actual impact of him being at the grave, and what that meant for him. And I was thinking, I want him to be able to visit all his friends. He lost 28 while he was serving.” SO DEQUATTRO — GOT TO WORK. “I was like, ‘let’s get six thousand boots!'” SHE GOT DONATIONS. SHE EVEN PAID OUT OF POCKET — TELLING US THIS ENTIRE PROJECT COST ABOUT 10 THOUSAND DOLLARS. BUT IT’S FOR HIM. “I knew I wanted to, always.” ROTHERMEL IS A PROUD VETERAN. HE HOPES THIS DISPLAY — CAN MAKE THESE FALLEN SOLDIERS — PROUD TOO. “to go out there, read off their name, read their story, and not have them lost in the history books is one of the most important things of this project to me.” DEE AND DAVID TELL US THEY HOPE TO ONE DAY GO ON THE ROAD WITH THIS DISPLAY. BUT EACH MEMORIAL DAY– YOU BET THEYLL BE BACK HERE IN RHODE ISLAND TO SHOW THIS OFF. CAROLINE GOGGIN EYEWITNESS NEWS.


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