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Gold Star Families Memorial Monument dedicated in Bozeman

May 30 2022
Jonathan May | NBC Montana

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Bozeman’s Sunset Hills Cemetery is now home to the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.

Following Monday’s dedication, family members say they won’t forget the meaning behind the memorial.

“This is so exquisitely beautiful. I hope everybody comes up here for a quiet time and to take a look at it. I mean it's stunning,” Gold Star mother Cathy Saltz said.

Saltz lost her son at the age of 27. He was Montana’s first soldier to be killed in Iraq.

“My son said, in his last email, ‘I've made my peace with it. Whatever happens, I know I've made a difference,’ and I think that's a challenge for all of us to make our peace with what's happened and to move forward and make a difference in other people's lives,” Saltz said.

She says the support from other Gold Star families means so much.

“It's wonderful, because you don't feel like you're the only one you know, and you have stories to share,” Saltz said.

Montana is the last state in the country to place one of these monuments, and the community came out in droves for its dedication.

“I couldn't be prouder of our community. (To) see the strong turnout on a rainy day to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Memorial Day is about honoring the fallen,” Montana U.S. Sen. Steve Daines said.

The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was created by Medal of Honor recipient Hershall “Woody” Williams.