BOOTS ON THE GROUND
In 2015, Operation Stand Down RI launched the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial which presented almost 7,000 combat boots adorned with flags and placards. Each boot represents the life of a U.S. service member killed in action post 9-11 in the Global War on Terror. The placard attached to each boot displays the name and photo of the fallen along with biographical information, military branch, rank and circumstances of death. The Memorial is updated yearly to incorporate additional U.S. service members killed in the ongoing Global War on Terror.
The boots, adorned by the name placards, are alphabetized and organized by State and U.S. Territories. This allows those with a personal connection to locate a specific fallen hero’s boot. Many times, family, friends and comrades of the fallen can be seen solemnly viewing a particular boot and leaving a memento. Since its inception, over ten thousand visitors from all over the U.S. have visited during Memorial Day Weekend.
The first three years the Memorial was displayed at Roger Williams Park in Providence. In 2019, the Memorial was displayed at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. Fort Adams is one of the oldest military posts in the Country.
A Gold Star Gala hosted by Operation Stand Down Rhode Island has marked the opening of the Memorial. The Gala honors the 29 Rhode Island men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and their families.