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Unveiling of Woody Williams Gold Star Families Memorial Monument

Oct 02 2023
Alyssa Hannahs | WSAZ 3

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams and Gold Star Families were honored on Monday as the Woody Williams Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was unveiled.

Huntington’s Memorial Park was packed on October 2 for the dedication ceremony.

The monument that sits in Huntington’s Memorial Park shares space with the War Memorial Arch on Memorial Boulevard at the 11th Avenue intersection.

The dedication comes on what would have been Williams’ 100th birthday.

This event was made possible by the fundraising and logistical work of the Southside Preservation and Enhancement Alliance in coordination with the Woody Williams Foundation.

Woody Williams fought in World War II with the Marine Corps as a flamethrower at the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. His heroic actions there were later honored as he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman.

Williams was the last surviving World War II veteran to have received the Medal of Honor.

So far, 131 of these monuments have been established through the Woody Williams Foundation.

Gold Star family members in attendance on Monday were presented with a yellow rose to be placed on the monument’s base in remembrance of their lost loved ones.

Woody Williams’ long-time-friend, Senator Joe Manchin, was the keynote speaker.

Congresswoman Carol Miller; Mayor Steve Williams; Park District President, Dr. Rocco Morabito; Woody Williams’ daughter, Tracie Ross and Woody Williams’ grandson and Foundation cofounder, Brent Casey, also spoke at the dedication ceremony.

Musical guests included Broadway actor and singer, J. Mark McVey, and country music star, Lee Greenwood.

McVey sang Woody Williams’ favorite song, Bring Him Home.

Greenwood sang his beloved patriotic hit, God Bless the U.S.A. followed by Taps, a 21-gun salute and the retirement of the colors.