Oct 10 2020
Jim Cochran | The Intelligencer
Those in attendance at the dedication of the Marshall County Gold Star Families Memorial Monument this past Wednesday evening had the opportunity to listen to featured speaker Hershel “Woody” Williams explain about the start-up of this effort 10 years ago, what the foundation means, along with the mission the four goals of the project.
The mission of the program is to honor, recognize and serve Gold Star Families and the legacy of their loved ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
In addition, while several individuals and organizations took part in the event, others presented checks to Williams to help pay for the monument.
The program began with the welcome from Marshall County Commission president Scott Varner, who stated, “This is indeed a special day as we recognize those who were left behind by those who lost their lives while defending our freedoms. Each day the memory of their lost child is a heartache that will never go away. This monument reminds us, the survivors, that we also must remember our Gold Star Families and care for them each and every day. Losing a child is something many of us have never experienced, but these families not only have lost their child, but lost that child while preserving our rights and freedoms.”
He added, “It is with the greatest admiration for these families that I welcome these families on behalf of the citizens of Marshall County.”
The Moundsville Veterans Honor Guard posted the Colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by members of Cub Scout Pack No. 78, and Boy Scout Troop No. 78.
Vocalist Bob Wolfe sang the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and later “God Bless America” and “Fallen Not Forgotten.”
The invocation was given by Rev. C.J. Plogger, pastor of the Ash Avenue Church of God.
County Commissioner John Gruzinskas noted that the foundation and the Gold Star Family Monuments were projects of Williams, and that Marshall County was honored to be able have Mr. Williams as speaker for the occasion.
Following Mr. Williams’ talk, members of the Veterans Honor Guard placed wreaths at the Memorial.
Alex Nauert, director of programs for the Woody Williams Foundation, was in charge of the call to the monument, while Williams and Gold Star Family members led the ceremony of removing the cover.
This was followed by the Honor Guard providing “Taps,” a rifle salute and the retiring of the Colors, and the benediction by Rev. Plogger.
Final comments were made by County Commissioner Mike Ferro, who thanked those who attended to support the dedication. He said, “Marshall County has a proud heritage of military service. We are patriots to our core, and believe in the American system and defending the rights of those who are not able to defend themselves.” He continued, “Freedom has never been free. This monument that we dedicated today is a reminder to all of us that we must support our troops and their families. Across the plaza is a tribute to the heroes who have died for our freedoms. This monument is a tribute to the families who gave the ultimate sacrifice and also must never be forgotten.”
Mr. Williams made a special presentation to Gary Rider, who became an honorary board member of the national foundation for his work on behalf of planning which has resulted in the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.