Groundbreaking Ceremony - May 30, 2019

  • April 1, 2019
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Veteran Saluting at Monument
Pensacola, Fla., April 1, 2019: The gulf coast area Gold Star Families Memorial Monument group has gained the approval of Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson to place the monument at the Veterans Memorial Park of Pensacola during 2020. There will be an official groundbreaking ceremony conducted at the park, in conjunction with the Heroes Among Us speakers event, on Thursday, May 30th at 5:30pm. Many of our area’s Gold Star family members have joined in support of the project and a community education and fundraising campaign has been initiated for the Gulf Coast area and beyond. 

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams, whose extraordinary valor during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945 is itself legendary, founded the Gold Star Families Memorial project as part of the living legacy of America’s fading “greatest generation.” But in our greater Pensacola community, we witness continuation of this living legacy every day. It is in the dedicated active-service members who train, work and live here; in the tens of thousands of Veterans and military retirees and their loved ones who make this their home; and in the many patriotic and concerned citizens who constantly come through for our heroes.

Among them all are Pensacola’s own Gold Star Families representing those that gave their lives and who have continued to bear the burden of their loss of a loved one. 

To date, forty-seven uniform Gold Star Families monuments have been place at sites in 41 U.S. states. Fifty-eight more are in process. The purpose of each is to recognize the importance of families, and the role they play in forming citizens for service. Truly, these monuments pay a lasting and formal tribute to the ultimate sacrifice made by our warriors and the never-ending sacrifice endured by those who mourn them. 

“We come together too often to mourn the loss of our brave fighting men and women,” said Ed Spears, Gold Star uncle of Corporal J.R. Spears, of Molino, Fla., KIA on 23 October 2005 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. “But there are living memorials among us – families and friends who carry the burden daily. For them, the truly hard part is living, picking up the pieces, putting them back together in some semblance of order. To bravely carry on. The Gold Star Families Memorial project acknowledges and pays tribute to the suffering, sacrifice, honor, and dignity of the survivors who are the living legacy of the fallen.”  

 “Americans accept as a sacred trust the obligation to honor our fallen warriors,” said former Memorial Park Foundation President Jack Brown. “We honor the families they leave behind, but perhaps not in a lasting, concrete way. We should. As was said of Lincoln, our fallen belong to the ages now. Yet those who are left to carry on suffer the most cruel burden of loss to strike the human heart and soul. We can honor them at the same beautiful place our community has set aside to honor their fallen. Many other communities have shown us the way – all thanks to a brave Marine who picked up a flame thrower on Iwo Jima in 1945. That Marine, Woody Williams, vowed to remember those who did not return from battle, and the families who gave them up for service. We can do the same at the Veterans Memorial Park of Pensacola.”