Dec 11 2020
Naperville welcomes the community to help construct a Gold Star Families Memorial. (Photo courtesy Gold Star Memorial Committee)
An important, impactful memorial will soon grace the land of Naperville, thanks to a grassroots effort of citizens, working in collaboration with the Naperville Park District.
The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a project of the Woody Williams Foundation, will be erected at the west end of Veterans Park, located at 303 E. Gartner Road. Expected to be completed sometime next year, the monument will honor the Naperville families of servicemen and servicewomen who sacrificed their lives while serving in the military.
“Gold Star families bear the burden of grief long after the war has ended,” notes Jennifer Slown, Co-chair of the Gold Star Committee who serves as a Captain of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
Slown is one of several Naperville residents coming together to execute this memorial, which will be one of at least 63 across the country. Efforts to realize Gold Star Families Memorial monuments are currently underway in 77 other communities as well.
Gold Star Families Memorial monuments are 6 feet high, 16 feet long, with tributes two-sided tributes fabricated from black granite. One side bears a large gold star with the words “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument … A tribute to Gold Star Families and relatives who sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom.”
The other side tells a story through the four granite panels: Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice. The scenes on each panel are a reflection of the community’s Gold Star Families and their fallen heroes. At the center of this tribute is a silhouette of a military servicemember who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. Each monument includes a granite explanation marker, which serves to educate visitors about the monument design, meaning, and local committee.
Organizers welcome all citizens of the Naperville area to be a part of the completion of this memorial project. Donations to benefit the initiative can be made at https://hwwmohf.kindful.com/?campaign=1064773. Learn more about the Naperville Gold Star Families Memorial Monument effort at hwwmohf.org.
The Woody Williams Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that pursues specific endeavors and goals through the vision of Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. The Foundation encourages, with the assistance of the American public and community leaders, establishing permanent Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in communities throughout the United States, conducting Gold Star Families Outreach across the country, providing Living Legacy scholarships to eligible Gold Star Children, and advocating for educational benefits for all Gold Star Family members.
The impact of the Foundation’s work helps to raise public awareness about Gold Star Families’ enduring sacrifice and the ultimate sacrifice made by their loved ones. The Foundation wishes to educate the community about these sacrifices, reminding us all that freedom is not free.