CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — On Sunday morning, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, along with state and local leaders, honored the brave members of our country’s military.
It’s estimated that more than 100 people gathered for the ceremony at Veterans Park.
Invited speakers included City Council President Maria Rivera, Councilman Robert Ferri, Director of Veterans Affairs for the State of Rhode Island Kasim Yarn, & former Adjutant General of Rhode Island Lt. General Reginald Centracchio.
Additionally, the Central Falls Honor Guard and the 88th Army Band Brass Quintet were also featured.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Rhode Island’s veteran population is currently at at 70,621.
In neighboring Massachusetts, that number stands at 383,087.
“We do Veterans Day in remembrance,” Centracchio said. “…to ensure that the next generation understands there is a price for freedom.”
Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, 29 Rhode Islanders have lost their lives in action. Their names were read aloud on Sunday.
“This traveling memorial allows for us to see a demonstration of their sacrifice first hand,” Diossa said.
“I look at this memorial here and I want you too to understand something. These are boots, these are flags, this is a memorial,” Centracchio said.
“If you go right up to [the boots] and you put your ear to them, you will hear a story. I guarantee you will hear a story,” he added.
Centracchio, a veteran himself, served for 48 years in the U.S. Army.
His parting message: listen to these stories and understand that freedom isn’t free.