May 13 2021
Erick Pirayesh | Community Impact
A dedication ceremony May 13 unveiled a new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument at Frisco Commons Park.
A Gold Star Family refers to the immediate relatives of a fallen armed forces member. The monument is funded by donations made through the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, a charitable nonprofit that organizes numerous outreach programs throughout the country.
The Frisco monument is the 81st one across the country and the second one in Collin County. The other Collin County monument is in Veterans Memorial Park in McKinney.
Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last living World War II Medal of Honor recipient, attended the Frisco ceremony. The 97-year-old travels across the country working with his foundation to establish these monuments and spread awareness about Gold Star Families.
“This is not about me. It’s about them. It’s about those who have made that sacrifice, to pay respect and honor to those families and loved ones,” he said in a speech at the memorial. “The model of our foundation is the cause, is greater than I.”
Williams said the monument would not have happened without Frisco resident Chuck Wright, who is an honorary board member of the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument.
Wright said he comes from a military family that is fortunate to not be a Gold Star Family, and that is why this project was so important.
“I did not realize how emotional this would be, and I am so incredibly honored,” he said while also giving credit to the team that helped bring a monument to Frisco. “These people have put in selfless hours.”
The Frisco memorial is the first Gold Star Monument to also include a statue of a saluting soldier in honor of Williams.
The monument is located adjacent to the Frisco Veterans Memorial that is undergoing repairs through a separate effort by Leadership Frisco Class XXIV. The program, which is part of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, has partnered with the Frisco Parks and Recreation Department and the Frisco Veterans Advisory Committee on the improvements.
Construction plans include stonework repair, new plaques, freshly painted walkways, roof replacement on the picnic pavilion and the addition of QR code scanners that will feature an interactive map to lead guests through the memorial. A new Battlefield Cross will serve as the memorial's centerpiece.
“Our intent was to create a space that not only serves as a reminder of those who have given their lives in service, but also allows us the opportunity to educate our community,” Leadership Frisco class member Melanie Hill said in an email about the project.
Leadership Frisco tentatively plans to have the renovations complete in time for the annual Frisco Memorial Day Ceremony. The ceremony starts at 9 a.m. May 31 in Frisco Commons Park, 8000 McKinney Road.