Oct 18 2020
Alexis Scott | WAAY 31
Gold Star Families cried, laughed and rejoiced after taking a first look at a monument revealed at the Huntsville Veterans Memorial.
It's the first of its kind in Alabama and is the last installment at this memorial site off Monroe Street.
WAAY-31 was there when the ribbon was cut and learned what this means to families here in North Alabama.
Immediate family members of someone who died while serving our country are called "Gold Star Families".
In Alabama, they now have a monument where they can come to reflect, pray and honor their loved ones.
"The main point of us being here is we want our loved ones always remembered. When you remember them, their legacy lives on," said Emily Rutherford.
Hundreds of people came to witness the unveiling of the first Gold Star Families monument in Alabama.
Its forever home is at the Huntsville Veterans Memorial.
Emily Rutherford was there for her brother, Staff Sergeant Jefferey Allen Hall...
He died in 2009 after being hit with an IED in Afghanistan.
Rutherford says this monument brings allows her to feel close to her brother.
"Being able to come visit it brings a sense of peace. People will be able to come and pay their respects. It's very very special and we're very grateful for it," she said.
At the ceremony, many shared their own experiences with losing a family member while in service.
But all in all, after the roses were laid down and tears were shed... there were still smiles.
Now, there's a symbol of recognition for families of those who fought for our country.
Rutherford says she's beyond thankful for the Gold Star Family unit and bond.
She says if you feel you're alone, this can be a reminder that there are people out there to support you.
"We all have our loved ones that passed away and we all have that in common. The love for our siblings or our children, husbands, wives... and it's very comforting to have that family... somebody who truly understands," said Rutherford.
Some Gold Star Families told WAAY-31 this monument gives them the closure they need ... as some fallen soldiers were never laid to rest, and were missing in action.
So now, they have a place to pay their respects.
There are also commemoration bricks at the monument site where you can see some of the names of those lost.