Exeter, RI –
September 27, 2018 – The Cape Verdean Veterans Memorial Project (CVVM)
completed its mission this Saturday, September 29th. The CVVM project hosted
a monument dedication ceremony in the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery
in Exeter, R.I. The monument honors the U.S. military
service of men and women of Cape Verdean descent. The celebration was attended
by dignitaries from the United States, Cabo Verde, military members, family, and
friends and caps a five-year quest
to create the memorial.
Speakers included Major
General Gary M. Brito from the U.S. Army and Cabo Verde Minister of Foreign Affairs
& Communities and Minister of Defense, Luis Filipe Tavares. Major General
Brito the highest-ranking officer of
Cape Verdean ancestry in the U.S. Armed Forces.
He is also the first black Commanding General in the 100-year history of
the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort
Benning, Georgia. Joining them for the
ceremony was U.S. Congressman David Cicilline, Cabo
Verde Ambassador to the United States Carlos Veiga, Consulate General of Cabo
Verde Herminio Moniz, RI
State Representative Jean Philippe Barros, RI State Representative Gregg Amore,
Navy Lieutenant Commander and RI Director of Veterans Affairs, Kasim Yarn. The 88th Army Rhode
Island National Guard Band provided support with their Brass Quintet.
The CVVM Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that
was conceived in January 2013 with Ms. Lucy Rose serving as Project Director.
She obtained proposals and estimates to create the monument and developed a
$50,000 budget. The government of Cabo
Verde donated $20,000 as did the Rhode Island General Assembly. Additional funds were raised through
individual contributions. Mr. Jack
Afonso of Riverside Stone Company handled monument design and creation. Gilbane Building Company provided
construction support and the Veterans Affairs Administration worked with the
CVVM to identify the location for the 8-foot tall, granite monument within the
RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
indicate people of Cape Verdean descent have served in the U.S. military since
the American Revolution (https://capeverdehistoryunearthed.com/2014/03/16/cape-verdean-veterans-of-american-wars/).
Today, according to the U.S. Department of State, “Cabo Verde’s
diaspora in the United States (primarily Massachusetts and Rhode Island) almost
rivals the islands’ current population of over 540,000,” (https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2835.htm. It was with this proud heritage in mind that
local residents came together to create the CVVM Project.
“Creating this memorial has been a moving
experience,” said Lucy Rose. “People from many backgrounds came together to
share stories, offer support, donate time and talent. This helped us forge a
remembrance that honors our veterans. The Cape Verdean Veterans Monument is in
a public space and creates a lasting representation of our culture, and
dedicated service in the United States Armed Forces. We
believe this Memorial will be an important source of information for future
generations in understanding the sacrifices made by