Gold Star families, those who have lost a son or daughter in combat, were guests of honor at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Tuesday when a new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was unveiled.
It was the 50th such memorial monument of its kind to be installed in the U.S. and is now part of the museum’s monument park.
The multi-faceted black granite monument was donated by the Hershel "Woody" Williams Congressional Medal of Honor Education Foundation, Inc. and features themes of Homeland, Family, Patriot and Sacrifice. The shape of a saluting soldier outlines missing space between two of the granite pieces.
“The country, as a whole, has never actually honored or paid tribute to the sacrifices that families made.” Williams said at the dedication. “We have tremendous memorials and monuments to veterans. But this is long overdue,” he added. Williams is the sole surviving World War II Marine Corps veteran who received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Gold Star parents of the late Army helicopter pilot and Kettering native James E. Groves III were in attendance for the ceremony.
“To some of us, this memorial means more than just another monument,” Groves’ father, James Groves, said. “Our son is in Arlington (National Cemetery), and we don’t get there as often as we’d like. We spent a lot of time out here in the last three weeks ... it feels really special.”