May 07 2021
Elle Cabrera | The Spectrum
The City of St. George is gearing up to build a monument downtown to honor families whose loved ones were killed while in military service.
The Gold Star Families Foundation is a nationwide organization that recognizes military families and their lost loved ones. Like a similar one alrady installed in Ogden, this Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is planned to be in the center of downtown in the Historic Town Square. It's supported by two non-profit organizations, the Woody Williams Foundation and the Major Brent Taylor Foundation.
Jennie Taylor, founder of the Major Brent Taylor Foundation, has worked closely with the committee in St. George to give insight into the project.
“It's in the middle of town where hundreds of people go daily. This is a monument for everyone to see,” Taylor said.
Taylor is the widow of former North Ogden mayor and Utah National Guard member Brent Taylor, who was killed on Nov. 3, 2018, while serving in Afghanistan.
The memorial won’t have individual names but will feature a soldier saluting at its center to recognize all the families who have had military members, alive or deceased. Each Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is designed similarly but has some room to make each one unique to its area.
The project is expected to cost roughly $58,000 and the goal is to have it up before Veterans Day.
“We have the ambitious goal to have raised enough money for Veterans Day,” said David Cordero, St. George City Communications and Marketing Director.
Though the construction of the actual monument may be a few months away, the groundbreaking is slated for May 18, at 11 a.m. in the Historic Town Square where a large flag is located. The city has a committee specifically for this project and two local Gold Star Families are taking part in the planning.
Taylor, who is helping with the project, said she wants it to be more than just a memorial. “I hope it starts conversations and gives a sense of healing for the families,” Taylor said.
Former St. George Mayor John Pike started the project and reached out to the organizations that make these memorials happen. Current mayor Michelle Randall is continuing the project.
The St. George Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is expected to be part of several monuments being built across the nation. Taylor said there are nearly 70 up now and about as many to still be built.
The City of St. George is asking for donations to help build this monument, with officials hoping to bring in enough money in to make it before Veterans Day as a dual celebration. “No donation is too small,” Cordero said.
With six military branches, and for anyone who wants to have “skin in the game” Cordero recommends a $6 donation.
“It's a fitting tribute for those who paid the ultimate price,” Cordero said.