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New Gold Star Families Memorial Monument brings hundreds to St. George on Saturday

Mar 26 2022
Ella Cabrera | St. George Spectrum & Daily News

The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is ready for public viewing, after a heartfelt reveal ceremony on Saturday.

After almost two years of planning by the City of St. George, the Brent Taylor Foundation, the Woody Williams Foundation, and the Southern Utah community, the memorial site is up. Over 200 Gold Star families from across the country attended the event at Town Square Park to honor loved ones and welcome the 91st Gold Star monument in the United States, the second built in Utah.

The ceremony included speeches given by Mayor Michele Randall, Command Sergeant Major Bryan Smethurst, Utah Army National Guard (retired), Dennis Moxon, a local Gold Star family member, Brigadier General Joey Green, Utah National Guard and Alex Nauert from the Woody Williams Foundation. The Color Country Chorus also made an appearance.

Many of the presenters left the stage with tears in their eyes and the audience stayed silent and attentive during the ceremony and laid dozens of bouquets of flowers aside photos of loved ones at the foot of the monument.

“It was a very emotional day. Because it's for the families of those who have fallen and so just having so many of them here, it just was it was incredible. Just over 19 months ago, we started on it and so it was 19 months labor of love to have it installed,” Randall said.

The Gold Star family members present were able to view the monument first and speak the names and ranks of their lost loved ones while laying yellow roses down in remembrance. Many of the family members were seen crying during the event and the atmosphere during the moment of listing names was somber for most.

The new black granite monument in the town square is separated into four sections, which represent homeland, family, patriot and sacrifice, respectively. Each block, which ascends to a point in the middle, features art on the backside, with an image that corresponds to the categories. Two large granite pieces in the middle of the memorial are carved to create the shape of a saluting soldier.

“You know, we had one man today who mentioned his loved one from World War II, we're talking generations. I think we default to think Iraq and Afghanistan because it's the most recent enemies. But you've got this honor. That will be there, too. You've got car accidents, you've got combat, you've got cancer, we've got suicide, you've got all kinds of circumstances,” Jennie Taylor, the widow and founder of the Brent Taylor Foundation said.