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Gold Star Families honored at Trinity Park

Sep 26 2019
Wakisha Bailey |WPBF

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Wednesday morning was an emotional day for Gold Star Families as their loved ones were honored in a special dedication.

Trinity Park was a sea of red, white and blue. About 100 people sat in a semicircle waiting for the unveiling of a 7-foot monument.

"Hershel Woody Williams is the last living Medal of Honor recipient from the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II," said Chad Graham, grandson of Williams and CEO of the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation.

Graham said their mission is to build these monument throughout the U.S.

"These Goldstar Families at many times are forgotten. We wanna make sure their loved ones' names are said and their service and sacrifices remembered," Graham said.

Lauren Berkson was 10 months old when her father, Capt. Joseph Berkson, an Army Ranger, was killed in the Vietnam War. She stood beside veteran Harvey Oyer.

Oyer, along with other community partners, worked on this project for almost a year.

"Everything you see here today was donated, every bit of construction, engineering, architecture," Oyer said.

At about noon, it was time for the big unveiling. Engraved in gold letters:

"The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument -- A tribute to those who have sacrificed a loved one for our freedom," While the other four side panels read, "Homeland, "Family," "Patriot" and "Sacrifice."

In the center of the monument a distinct cut out in memory of our fallen heroes.

"This monument is not only to honor people like Lauren's father but people like Lauren. The ones who sacrificed their sons, brothers their fathers so our democracy lives on," Oyer said.

Gold Star Families are planning several more dedications in Palm Beach County later this year.