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Community raising funds for Gold Star monument

May 29 2024
Thomas Howard | Meridian Star

Local veterans and Gold Star families have teamed up to raise funds to bring a Gold Star Families Monument to Meridian. Set to be erected in the East Mississippi Veterans Park, the monument would be one of just four to be built in the state.

Wilma Allen, a Gold Star mother and member of the committee working to bring the monument to Meridian, said the monument will consist of four black granite panels with scenes recognizing the homeland, family, patriot and sacrifice. The scenes on several panels will be customized for Meridian’s military community.

Allen said she had been able to attend the unveiling of the Gold Star Families Monument in Tupelo, which was the third such monument in the state, and decided Meridian needed to have one as well.

“The first one was at Camp Shelby, and then the second was on the coast,” she said. “It’s actually right over there close to the Hard Rock. Then, they have one it Tupelo at the veterans park.”

The Gold Star Families Monument, which was created by Metal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams, recognizes all members of Gold Star families, Allen said, whether they’re siblings, parents, children or grandparents. The monument is recognition of the families of fallen soldiers and the losses they suffer.

Mike Couch, president of the Stronger Together Foundation, said bringing a Gold Star Families Monument to Meridian is huge for both the military community and the surrounding area. The monument is something people will come to Meridian to see, he said.

“We were awarded it, and we can put it in Meridian, but it’s still going to take funds,” Couch said.

Couch said the group needs to raise about $70,000 to fully complete the project.

To learn more about the Gold Star Families Monuments or how to get involved, visit woodywilliams.org/monuments/meridian-ms.html.