Momentum is gaining in a multi-year-long effort to honor Gold Star families who have lost their service member loved ones in conflicts. On a beautiful day this week, Military City U.S.A came together with Gold Star families, military veterans, and supporters to attend the groundbreaking of the soon-to-be Gold Star Families Memorial, located in Veterans Memorial Park in downtown San Antonio.
Ceremony key speakers included Jeff Wells (Wishes for Heroes), John Baines (Vietnam Veterans Memorial), Councilman Clayton Parry (District 10), Juan Ayala (Office of Military & Veteran Affairs – City of San Antonio), and the grandson of the founder of the Gold Star Family Memorial movement, Hershel “Woody” Williams, as well as Gold Star mother, Candy Martin.
“There’s a story behind every Gold Star. And behind every story, there’s a family, there’s someone who has lost their life, there’s someone who has paid that ultimate sacrifice,” said Martin, who lost her son First Lieutenant Thomas Martin in Iraq in 2007. “It’s estimated that we’ve had 1.4 million people lose their lives in service to our country since its founding, and when you think about 1.4 million with loss of lives, that’s 1.4 million families. In that family, there could be mother father, brother sister, husband, wife, child.” The nation’s largest population of Gold Star families live between Austin and San Antonio.
The monument was spurred by the efforts of the Woody Williams Foundation, a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that pursues specific endeavors and goals through the vision of Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. The Foundation encourages establishing permanent Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in communities throughout the United States, conducting Gold Star Families Outreach across the country, providing Living Legacy scholarships to eligible Gold Star Children, and advocating for educational benefits for all Gold Star Family members. The impact of the Foundation’s work helps to raise public awareness about Gold Star Families’ enduring sacrifice and the ultimate sacrifice made by their loved ones. The foundation works with leaders to educate the community about these sacrifices, reminding us all that freedom is never free.
We can be certain that our Gold Star Families will never be forgotten in Military City, U.S.A, and look forward to seeing the completed monument within the next few months. Click here to sponsor this important project.