May 13 2022
Brennon Gurley | Spectrum News
WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. — Dozens of veterans, their families and state leaders gathered Friday at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North in Grant County for the unveiling of the new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.
What You Need to Know
- The Gold Star Families Monument was unveiled at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North in Williamstown
- Currently, there are 95 monuments nationwide to honor families who lost loved ones in combat
- The Woody Williams Foundation spearheaded the project, named after Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams
- The dedications won’t stop in Williamstown—the 96th dedication will be unveiled at Rhode Island Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery
A solemn tribute to families like Theresa Heeger’s who have lost loved ones in the military now stands at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North.
Theresa Heeger, committee members on the Woody Williams Foundation, said it’s all about keeping the soldiers’ memories alive.
“They say a hero never dies until their name is last spoken, she said. “If we can keep their memory alive and keep saying their names, then they’re still with us.”
Heeger’s brother, 26-year-old Army Specialist Ronnie Williams, died in 2005 while serving his second tour.
“I promised him if anything was to happen to him that I would make sure his son would never forget who he was and that everyone would remember him,” explained Heeger.
She got to be a part of designing the monument and saw it when it arrived at the cemetery. Heeger said it brought tears to her eyes.
Although she had already seen it once, those same emotions were still there.
“I’m able to take a deep breath and know that our heroes are OK. They’re not going to be forgotten because this is here,” said Heeger.
Currently, there are 95 similar monuments nationwide to honor families who lost loved ones in combat. The Woody Williams Foundation has spearheaded the project, named after Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams.
Chad Graham, President and CEO of Woody Williams Foundation, said the monument serves as a symbol for the community to honor and remember the fallen.
“The most important thing that we can do as communities is come together and honor that sacrifice and make certain that we never forget those who have laid down their life for our freedom,” explains Graham.
The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is a two-sided tribute made of black granite.
Etchings on the front of the memorial read “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument… a tribute to gold star families and relatives who sacrificed a loved one for our freedom.”
Gold Star family members left yellow roses at the base of the monument during the ceremony in honor of their heroes.
“This is basically, other than memories, this is all we have left of our loved one. So, it’s kind of our sacred ground,” Heeger said.
Now, family members are hopeful this memorial honors those veterans and comforts their survivors for generations to come.
The dedications won’t stop in Williamstown. The 96th dedication will soon be unveiled at Rhode Island Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery.