NEWPORT – The Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial is moving from Roger Williams Park in Providence to Fort Adams State Park in Newport this year, the group behind the annual display announced.
On every Memorial Day weekend since 2015, Operation Stand Down Rhode Island has used a grassy field near Roger Williams Park’s Temple to Music to set up about 7,000 boots representing service members killed in action since Sept. 11, 2001.
Each boot is adorned with an American flag and placard identifying a service member who has been in the “war on terror.”
This year, the display will take place May 24-26 at Fort Adams State Park.
“We are excited to bring the full display to another part of the state and to a new audience and we thought that there is no better place than a historic military fort in a city with such deep ties to the military community,” said Dee DeQuattro, founder of the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial.
As part of the memorial, Operation Stand Down RI will host the third annual Gold Star Gala on May 24 at Fort Adams at 6:30 p.m. The event will involve a special presentation in which the Rhode Island Gold Star families place boots for the display. Local Marine Cpl. Kevin Dubois will be the keynote speaker.
Dubois, a Lincoln native, served with the 3rd Battalion 4th Marines from 2008 to 2012. On his second deployment to Afghanistan, in 2011 while clearing a landing zone for a medevac helicopter dispatched for a fellow marine, Dubois stepped on an explosive. His injuries required the amputation of both legs. Dubois and his wife, Kayla, live in Burrillville, and have two children, Elijah and Victoria.
On May 22 and May 23 from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. volunteers will converge at Fort Adams State Park to set up the boots.
William Hamilton is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Hamilton@PBN.com.