Warwick elected officials, police officers and residents gathered at the new closed Warwick Veterans Memorial High School to celebrate Memorial Day this morning.
State Representative Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson, a veteran of the Military, served as the Master of Ceremonies.
“Freedom is not free of cost, many have given their lives to secure, to maintain, and to promote freedom in our nation, and in the world,” said Father Roland Simoneau, formerly the pastor of St. Benedict’s, in the ceremony’s opening prayer.
Bill Russo, a former police officer and Air Force Veteran, spoke about two friends that died serving the nation.
He talked about two Rhode Islanders that were lost serving the USA. One, named Renee Gagnon, was one of the flag raisers at Iwo Jima.
“I had a very good friend. We walked together to Norwood School, then to Aldrich. Then we came together here, and his name was Kenneth Bradford Goff…He was an Army Helicopter Pilot and he is still listed as MIA…I would be remiss if I didn’t mention today that the ground we are walking on today Kenneth Bradford Goff also walked upon,” said Russo.
Mayor Joseph Solomon echoed Russo’s comments.
“Without their sacrifices. Without the sacrifices of their families. We would not be here today living in freedom and living in democracy.”
Solomon also acknowledged the void of those felt by families who lost loved ones in America’s wars.
“Every day is Memorial Day for these Gold Star families,” said Solomon.
Sophie Colantuano, the daughter of former Warwick City Councilman Steve Colantuono, sang the national anthem.
Father Robert Marciano blessed a tree that was then planted to honor the fallen–a living tribute to the
“Heavenly father, this tree will serve as a reminder of those who sacrificed their lives for us,” said Marciano.