Monday, November 12, 2007

World War II Memorial Dedication Ceremony

On Sunday I had the honor of attending the dedication ceremony of the newly constructed World War II Monument in Providence, Rhode Island. My uncle Joseph T. Corrente, a veteran himself, designed the monument many years ago, and worked tirelessly as Chairman of the committee to lobby for land, work on the design and lead fundraising efforts for the $1.3 million project. The monument is located on Memorial Drive in downtown Providence, RI, next to the World War I and Korean War Monuments. On either side of the main rotunda pictured above, there are two angled walls of granite, engraved with the names of the 2,562 Rhode Islanders who died while serving during World War II.
The afternoon began with a parade that originated at the State House. It included various military and police color guards, a procession of World War II-era military vehicles, hundreds of veterans, and a wide range of dignitaries, all led by a fantastic marching band. At the memorial, there was a huge crowd surrounding the site. Mounted Providence Police kept order and the horses provided a distraction for the young kids in attendance. I was attending primarily because of my Uncle Joe. For many years, I remember my uncle working on this project. At family gatherings he would bring out pencil sketches of what it would someday look like. It was neat seeing it standing, just how he planned it to be. I was proud of my Uncle Joe and his dedication to preserve the honor and memory of our veterans. While at the event, I saw the Governor, Senators and Congressmen, Mayors past and present, and a number of other local dignitaries. I didn't get an opportunity chat with retired Senator Claiborne Pell or Congressman Patrick Kennedy, but it was nice to see them. Below are some photos from the dedication ceremony:

Above left : Joseph T. Corrente, (my "Uncle Joe") who was so happy to see his dream realized. Above right: a view of the Memorial, looking southwest.

Above: Some of the WWII era military vehicles that had been in the parade earlier.

Above: In addition to the crowd of attendees, there were numerous color guards and members of the marching band who looked so regal in their uniforms and feather hats.

After the ceremony, as I walked out with my Uncle Joe and the family we were besieged by the press. The TV crews surrounded us to interview my Uncle about his work on the Memorial.

Above: nearby views from two different directions across from the Memorial Park. Above left: "The Old Stone Bank" building, and above right: view over the Providence River, toward the financial district downtown. It was a wonderful experience, I am so proud of my Uncle Joe and very happy that I was able to fly in to attend. I'm ready to fly home to Palm Springs for some warmer weather!
-Rick Rockhill

13 comments:

Ben Wu said...

That is awesome. Way to go Uncle Joe!

karma lennon said...

Awesome photos. And very cool. :)

TWISI said...

what a tremendous honor for your Uncle Joe.

Kudos to him!

Sheila said...

What a wonderful spirit your Uncle Joe has to stick with this idea and get it done! Congrats to him and the people who worked with him to make it happen. I guess the East coast weather was a bit of a shock to your system. It was in the mid-70s here in Missouri yesterday.

lime said...

how wonderful that you could share such a special celebration with your uncle. and thanks for sharing it with us

Stephen Rader said...

Wow! What an incredible memorial. You must be so proud of your uncle.

You're so amazing for being there with him yesterday. You're the greatest.

Real Live Lesbian said...

What a wonderful tribute! Looks like you had a great time and what an honor to be with family. I'm sure it meant the world to him!

Steven said...

What a fitting tribute and thank God for your uncle seeing this through. How fortunate and what a privilege to be there as your uncle's nephew!

Cheryl said...

How thrilling to have a dream like your uncle's realized. I'm so glad you shared this story with us. It was really heartwarming. Our veterans truly deserve to be honored, and your uncle must be so gratified.

Lewis said...

What an excellent opportunity and great way to spend Veteran's Day..

Palm Springs Savant said...

Thanks everybody...I am proud of my uncle and this accomplishment, it was very cool to be there and see the look on his face. He is part of "America's Greatest Generation" as they are called.

Canadian flake said...

fantastic pics as always...thanks for sharing.

Desert Songbird said...

Wonderful photos, Rick. I bet your heart just swelled with pride being a part of the festivities with your uncle. What a special day.

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