CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Ground has been broken on the latest Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in the United States and it’s right in West Virginia’s capital city.
The Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, led by Williams, and state leaders broke ground in a ceremony Saturday afternoon in front of the West Virginia State Culture Center at the state Capitol Complex.
In 2013 the organization began building these monuments for families that have lost loved ones in war.
“They are sending a message to the families of those who have sacrificed a loved one for us and our freedom, that they are being recognized, appreciated and honored for the very first time in America’s history,” Williams said.
The first monument was built in 2013 at the Donel C. Kinnard State Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Dunbar and since that day, 50 more have been dedicated in more than 40 states.
Another 60 monuments are being planned across the country.
The monument at the state Capitol is planned to be two times the size of any other monument. Williams, a Medal of Honor recipient, said that is on purpose to showcase where the monuments started.
Honored to join my friend and Medal of Honor recipient @WoodyWilliams45 today to break ground on the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument that will stand forever beside our State Capitol to honor Gold Star Families and preserve the memory of the fallen. #WV pic.twitter.com/Z4U19aOaBW
— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) July 27, 2019
The completion of the monument is slated for the Fall with dedication scheduled for Wednesday, October 2.
“This gives the Gold Star Families of that community a place to go that they know or recognizes and pays tributes to the one that they lost,” Williams said.
“They are meeting those who have had a similar sacrifice and they get to know each other. Now they can share their grief and their relationship with each other.”
A true WV hero @WoodyWilliams45 smiles during the Gold Star Families memorial groundbreaking ceremony at the Capitol today.
— WV National Guard (@WVNationalGuard) July 27, 2019