Apr 20 2021
Chanda Richardson | Ashe Post & Times
ELKIN — The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument has made its way to full fruition and will be erected along with a dedication celebration on May 30 at Elkin City Park.
The event will take place where the monument will stand, at 2 p.m. on Memorial Day. Twenty to 40 Gold Star Families, families which experienced the death of a service member while serving in a time of conflict, are expected to be present, about 125 Rolling Thunder Riders, who ride across the state for MIA/POW, will come on Harley Davidson bikes.
Also in attendance will be Herschel “Woody” Williams, 97, the last surviving recipient of Medal of Honor WWII and Harold Frank, Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, 95, a survivor from D-Day at Utah Beach, where he was shot and captured by Germans. Frank still wears the bullet the doctors removed to this day. The foundation has also requested an Army band and a helicopter fly-over.
This celebration and monument will represent Northwest NC and Southwest Virginia.
Jon Garing, committee chair for the project and wealth management advisor for Northwestern Mutual, is a Vietnam Veteran who will also be in attendance. Garing said this event is going to spark a wave of emotions throughout the community.
“It brings me chills,” Garing said. “I was a helicopter pilot and like all of us say, even the people like Woody Willaims, ‘The real heroes of our country are the ones that didn’t come home.’ This is what this is for; their moms and dads and loved ones who think that we’ve forgotten them. We’re going to show them that they’re not. It’s going to be quite a sight.”
The monument is a six-foot-tall and 12-foot-long black granite monument consisting of two sides. One is completely black with gold lettering presenting the title and purpose of the monument; “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and Relatives who sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom.” The other side tells a story: Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice. At the center of the tribute is a silhouette of a saluting service member.
It has taken two-and-a-half years to complete and Garing is gearing up for the installation.
“I’m so pleased we’re getting it done. It’s going to be huge,” Garing said.
The Woody Williams Foundation has installed 79 monuments throughout the states and 80 are currently in progress.
To learn more about the foundation and monuments, visit https://woodywilliams.org/index.html.
The Ashe Post & Times will continue to update on this event.