CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia State Capitol Grounds will eventually house a monument dedicated to the sacrifice of Gold Star families. The legislature on Wednesday approved a resolution to authorize the monument which is a project led by the state’s only living Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams.
“We have done a terrific job of paying respect and giving credit to our veterans for their service to our country, as we should,” Williams explained on MetroNews Talkline. “But, our country and we as communities have never actually identified, honored, and paid tribute to those who gave their loved ones for our freedom.”
The first Gold Star Family Memorial was constructed at the Donel C. Kinnard State Veterans Cemetery in Institute, West Virginia. Since that time there have been 31 identification monuments dedicated across the country and more are in the works.
“Our foundation to date has 30 of these throughout the country already constructed and dedicated and we have 41 of them in the process somewhere in the country,” said Williams who heads up the foundation to erect the monuments. “Our goal is to have at least one in every state.”
Williams will travel to South Carolina Friday for the dedication of a monument there. He says West Virginia leads the nation with five already in place, but added Texas will soon hold that title with eight of the markers now in progress.
The marker at the state Capitol Complex will be identical to those built in other locations, including the one in the Donel Kinnard Cemetery. It will be funded by private donations. Williams estimated it would cost about $65,0000.
The monuments pay tribute to the families of fallen soldiers. Williams said often while the veteran killed in action is remembered, seldom does anyone give any thought to the immense suffering endured by loved ones.
“Even our own nation’s capitol does not have a memorial, out of 1,100, that pays tribute to the families who made theses sacrifices,” said Williams.