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City of St. George to dedicate Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, March 26 at Historic Town Square

Mar 18 2022
The Independent

St. GEORGE—A Gold Star Families Memorial Monument (GSFMM) will soon stand tall in the heart of downtown St. George thanks to the efforts of private citizens, local elected officials and two 501 c3 non-profit organizations (the Woody Williams Foundation and the Major Brent Taylor Foundation). Their hard work and generosity generated $100,000 of private funds toward the project.

The memorial’s dedication is set for March 26 at 11 a.m., on the west end of Historic Town Square near the flagpole. Everyone is invited to attend this free program.

“This monument is a sign of commitment, love and gratitude from our community to our Gold Star Families,” said St. George Mayor Michele Randall. “It is a promise that we will always remember the price their loved ones paid and never ignore the heartbreak Gold Star Families endure.”

The “Gold Star” designation goes to families who have lost a loved one due to their military service. Many died in combat. Some were lost to an accident in training. And there are those who, sadly, end up taking their own lives because of post-traumatic stress.

The monument is in a public place, easily accessible for anyone to visit and pay their respects.

“We hope this will inspire people to talk about the price of freedom, and the responsibility we all have as beneficiaries of those freedoms,” Randall added. “It reminds us that some gave all, and that it is our solemn duty to honor their sacrifices by lifting our community every chance we get.”

The program to honor Gold Star Families was established by Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. On February 23, 1945 — the fifth day of battle on Iwo Jima and the day of the famous flag-raising — Williams stalked hostile Japanese gun emplacements and took them out with his flame thrower, saving countless American lives in the process. His actions over the course of four hours under heavy enemy fire earned him the Medal of Honor.

Still, Williams yearned to serve. His foundation forged a national effort to provide a place of permanence for Gold Star Families and members of the public to gather in recognition of the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom — and to ensure that we never forget. This program is active in all 50 states and one U.S. territory with 90 monuments installed and an additional 85 monuments in progress, as of mid-March 2022.

The Major Brent Taylor Foundation, named after the former Mayor of North Ogden, was established in 2019 following the combat death of Maj. Taylor, on Nov. 3, 2018, in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taylor Foundation, led by Gold Star Widow Jennie Taylor, raised money to erect a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in North Ogden in 2020.