EXETER, RI, UNITED STATES
EXETER, R.I. - Rear Adm. Walter E. "Ted" Carter Jr., president, U.S. Naval War College, joined with representatives from Rhode Island, distinguished guests and more than 700 attendees, to serve as presiding officer for the 40th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery, May 26.
The event served as an opportunity to commemorate the more than 1.3 million men and women who have died in military service since 1775, and honor the millions of veterans who have served the nation.
"On Memorial Day, it is altogether fitting and proper that we honor each military veteran who gave the full measure of devotion to our nation," said Carter. "Our fallen brothers and sisters have paid the ultimate sacrifice to our great nation for the security of freedom to be enjoyed by generations. Now, many other veterans are returning to civilian life after more than a dozen years of war. We must continue to recognize and reward their sacrifice as well as those who have served beside those we memorialize today."
Gov. Lincoln Chafee was on-hand at the event to show his appreciation for those who've served.
"I'm very honored to be here on this solemn occasion to remember all those who have lost their lives in service of the U.S. armed services," said Chafee. "Memorial Day was first celebrated in the years following the Civil War to honor the many Americans lost in that conflict. Since then, each year a Memorial Day offers us an opportunity to reflect on those who have lost their lives as we honor and uphold their legacy."
The event also featured guest speaker remarks from Sen. Jack Reed; Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse; Rep. David N. Cicilline; Rep. James R. Langevin; and Gina M. Raimondo, Rhode Island general treasurer.
"A long line of Rhode Island Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen have given their full measure so that we can stand here today safe, free and proud," said Reed. "We also have to recognize, not just these individuals, but their families, because no Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman serves alone."
Following remarks, surviving veterans from each major U.S. war participated in a Points of Light procession as part of the ceremony. Each member passed the Ensign to the next with the song "Points of Light" being played by the 88th Army Band, Rhode Island National Guard.
"Local military participation is important," said the event coordinator, Jonathan S. Rascoe, assistant administrator for the Division of Veterans Affairs, Rhode Island State Veterans Memorial Cemetery. "It provides living veterans with a familiar link to tradition."
"No matter how long some veterans have served, it is still very important for them to be able to listen to the words of someone who has experienced serving our nation," said Rascoe.
At the conclusion of the memorial service, Carter, Chafee and Gold Star family members participated in a ceremonial wreath laying and 21-gun salute from the Marine Corps rifle squad.
For more news from Naval War College, visit www.navy.mil/local/nwc/.
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