Gold Star Family Memorial Monument
Five years after the project began, the Woody Williams Foundation, with help from local Gold Star Families, broke ground on the first Gold Star Family Memorial Monument in San Diego County. The location could not be more fitting – Miramar National Cemetery’s Memorial Walkway, a walkway dedicated to the service and sacrifice of our military men and women.
Dave Meyers, Chairman of the San Diego project committee said, “The men and women we honor on these monuments gave their all and asked for nothing in return. Never forget the families and their lifelong sacrifice for the liberty we enjoy today. Their loved ones will never be forgotten for their courage, grit, tenacity, and true love for their nation.”
Gold Star family members, Woody William Foundation representatives, Woody’s grandson Bryan, military officials, Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army veteran John Baca, and several organizations including the Patriot Guard Riders, and Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation gathered at the groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 11th. Gold Star families used replica e-tools and helmets that would have been used in WWII by Woody Williams Foundation Founder WWII Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams.
The Gold Star Family Memorial Monument is funded by the Woody Williams Foundation. There are 128 monuments dedicated throughout the country and the closest current monument to San Diego is in Riverside County, about 100 miles away. The first monument was established in Woody’s home state of West Virginia. Soon after, Woody’s new goal was to establish monuments in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments are a two-sided tribute made of black granite. One side bears the words: Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and Relatives who sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom. On the other side of the monument, there are scenes etched on each of the four panels: Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice. At the center of this tribute, is a silhouette of a saluting service member which represents the Legacy of the Loved Ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our Freedom. Together, these features tell each community’s unique story based upon the Pillars of the Foundation.
Hershel “Woody” Williams enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Battle of Iwo Jima with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division. During the battle, Corporal Williams displayed “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” Woody’s actions, commitment to his fellow service members, and heroism were recognized on October 5, 1945, when he received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Truman at the White House. Woody died in June 2022 as the last living Medal of Honor recipient from WWII.
The San Diego Gold Star Family Memorial Monument will be dedicated at Miramar National Cemetery on Friday, Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. For more information, go to: www.woodywilliams.org/monuments/san-diego-ca.html