Thousands gathered outside Woonsocket Fire Department Headquarters to show support for keeping the Place Jolicoeur Memorial in place and intact.
The rally was organized by Retired RI Adjutant General Reginald Centracchio after a challenge demanding removal of religious symbols from the Place Jolicoeur memorial and Fire Department website.
People stood around the memorial itself, filling the parking lot of the fire station. Some even took a birds-eye seat across the street on a high berm running parallel to Cumberland Hill Road.
WPRO's John DePetro was the master of ceremonies for the event that showcased speeches from several dignataries, including Mayor Leo Fontaine, Centracchio and Sami Wellington, 13, of Cumberland, a seventh-grader at Mount St. Charles Academy who spoke for keeping the memorial intact.
One speaker, Mickey Vadneis, national executive for the American Legion in RI, told the crowd that the National American Legion had vowed to restore the memorial and that the Alliance Defense League had offered to pay to help the city fight against the demands leveled by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) last week.
Stay tuned for more information, photos and videos from the event.