PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Lt. Governor Dan McKee was joined today by state officials and military families to honor Rhode Island's fallen soldiers during the annual Garden of Heroes Wreath-Laying Ceremony.
The garden, located on the southwest lawn of the State House, was dedicated in 2005 to Rhode Island soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country since September 11, 2001. The Garden of Heroes was established through legislation introduced at the request of former Lt. Governor Charles J. Fogarty. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor oversees the continued care of the garden.
A monument in the garden is engraved with the names of 29 Rhode Island men and women who gave their lives in defense of our freedom:
SGT Gregory A. Belanger SSG Joseph Camara SGT Charles T. Caldwell SPC Michael Andrade CW5 Sharon T. Swartworth CPT Matthew J. August SFC Curtis Mancini MSG Richard L. Ferguson L/CPL Matthew K. Serio CPT Christopher S. Cash L/CPL John J. Van Gyzen IV SSG Christopher S. Potts L/CPL Holly A. Charette 2LT Matthew S. Coutu SGT Dennis J. Flanagan SGT Brian R. St. Germain SSG Dale James Kelly, Jr. SGT Moises Jazmin SGT Michael R. Weidemann PS3 Ronald A. Gill, Jr. LTJG Francis L. Toner IV PFC Kyle J. Coutu SGT Michael F. Paranzino SPC Dennis C. Poulin L/CPL Nicholas D. Schiavoni SGT Dennis P. Weichel Jr. L/CPL Abraham Tarwoe SSG Timothy R. McGill 1SG P. Andrew McKenna
"The Garden of Heroes is a reminder to all who visit the State House of the sacrifices of Rhode Islanders who have gone bravely into harm's way to defend our nation. These men and women are true heroes who embody the very best of our state, setting an example for generations to come. For that, we owe them our eternal gratitude," said Lt. Governor McKee. "We also recognize the families of our fallen heroes for the support they have given their sons, daughters and loved ones and the sacrifices they have made for our country."
Last week, Lt. Governor McKee dedicated a new Fallen Heroes Flag Garden outside the Charlestown Post Office to the 29 soldiers honored in the Garden of Heroes. The flag garden was commissioned by the Charlestown Memorial Day Committee.