Jan 28 2023
Sarah Hofmann | The Press-Enterprise
A new memorial to honor fallen U.S. service members is now standing at Riverside National Cemetery.
The Gold Star Family Monument was dedicated Saturday, Jan. 28, joining a host of other memorials at the cemetery.
The monument, which honors families who have lost a loved one in the line of military duty, was a long time in the making.
Temecula resident Dee Dee Rodler, president of Gold Star Wives of the Inland Empire, led the committee responsible for the monument’s creation. Her husband, Marine Capt. Gregg Rodler, was killed during training in 1987, and in 2015, she approached the director of Riverside National Cemetery to ask about creating a memorial for the families of deceased service members.
“When someone dies for our country, they leave behind a whole family,” she said before the event.
After a years-long effort to plan, design and raise money for the monument, ground was finally broken in June 2021.
The black granite monument features a cutout silhouette of a soldier and reads: “A tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and those they left behind.”
The Gold Star Family monument joins several other memorial monuments in Riverside National Cemetery, including the Medal of Honor Memorial, the Fallen Soldier/Veteran’s Memorial, and the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National Memorial. An American Indian Veterans Memorial, which will be the first national cemetery memorial specifically honoring American Indian and Alaska Native veterans, is also under construction at the cemetery.