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Wapakoneta's Vietnam Veterans of America unveil Gold Star Monument

Jun 04 2022
Todd Cummins | Hometown Stations

Downtown Wapakoneta is now the home to the 101st Gold Star Family Memorial Monument in the United States. The Michael D. Armstrong Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America along with the National Woody Williams Foundation spearheaded the effort to bring a Gold Star Monument to the city around a year and a half ago. With the help of other veterans’ organizations, businesses, and community members the gold star monument is a centerpiece to downtown Wapakoneta. It is a constant reminder of the ultimate sacrifices the local families of military personnel made, and many of them were on hand for the dedication.

“My heart reaches out to these Gold Star families,” says Tom Leininger, Vietnam Veterans of America. “Because they never had the opportunity to welcome their loved one home except in a casket.

The monument is located at the new Legacy Parkplaz, which is the former location of the Koneta Hotel that was destroyed in a fire in 2019.

“We hope that people come and gather here, we got benches for them, come take a break, whatever they need to do, reminisce,” says Ace Ambos of the Michael D. Armstrong Chapter 1126, the Vietnam Veterans of America. “The best part of the monument is the backside. The front is standard for all of their monuments, the backside the V.V.A. members designed with the exception of Iwo Jima, and that one we could not change. The other three panels we made our own adjustments to.”

This Gold Star Family monument is not only the 101st in the nation but the 12th one to be built in Ohio.