Rhode Island marks Memorial Day with ceremony in Exeter


State and federal officials marked Memorial Day with a ceremony at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter Monday.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, the state's congressional delegation and Major General Kevin McBride from the Rhode Island National Guard, were among those who attended the ceremony.

Rhode Islanders gathered with officials as they do each year to pay tribute to our local veterans.

This was the 40th Annual Memorial Day service at the RI Veteran's Cemetery. The principal speaker was the president of the Naval War College.

RADM Walter Carter Jr talked about the staggering sacrifice by those who served our country.

"Over one million three hundred thousand men and women since 1775, paid the ultimate sacrifice for defending our nation, that's more people than we have in uniform today."

Since the dawn of our nation, service and sacrifice have been a part of who we are, what this country is built on.

And at this year's ceremony military and political leaders paid tribute in a poignant ceremony to mark a day that means so much to so many.

"It means remembering all the people that we served with and how many are lost to us," said World War II veteran Luisa White.

"It means I can think about my past in the military, and I wonder about all the guys that I knew," said Korean War veteran Tony Parravano.

The ceremony also included a Point of Light Veteran Procession, that involved one veteran each from World War II to the current conflict in Afghanistan and all wars in between.

Generations of service brought together face to face. And afterward a wreath-laying ceremony followed by a firing of volleys.

And the familiar sound of taps, that symbolized the loss we all reflect on.

"If you don't remember that, you got nothing, you gotta remember what those guys did for us," said William Chew, who served in the Korean War.

Not just today, but every day.