NEW CASTLE, Delaware (WPVI) — As flags fly in the breeze at Veterans Memorial Park in Delaware, dozens of people walk to a white tent in front of a shining new monument. The sight of that monument brings some of them to tears.
“This is a place for them to come,” said Judy C. Campbell of the newly-finished Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Veterans Memorial Park.
After years of planning, the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument phase two construction is complete. The second phase included adding a walkway to connect two parts of the memorial with a red-brick path.
As chairperson, Campbell oversaw the fundraising and installation of the monument.
“(The Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments) has four panels: homeland, family, patriotism and sacrifice,” said Campbell, who is a Gold Star Sister.
“My brother was a combat medic. And he is and continues to be my inspiration,” she said.
It’s the reason Campbell continued on her mission with the help of generous community members even after the pandemic delayed the project and made it more expensive.
“It tripled. It literally tripled in cost,” she said of the monument going from a $15,000 construction price tag to $52,000.
Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments, like the one in New Castle, are being erected across the country, including three that are already in Pennsylvania. The Woody Williams Foundation is behind the effort.
“This is one of 106 across the country. There are over 60 that are in progress in some stage,” said Chad Graham of the Woody Williams Foundation.
Graham’s grandfather, Hershel “Woody” Williams, made installing the monuments his life’s work as a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
“Wearing the Medal of Honor. He said he wore that for those that didn’t get to come home,” said Graham.
The sounds of a trumpet playing Taps, a chorus of bagpipes playing Amazing Grace, and a gun salute filled the air just before the ribbon cutting that officially dedicated the memorial which shines a light to remember both the fallen and their families.
Action News reporter TaRhonda Thomas was among the group to cut the yellow ribbon. As a Gold Star Sister, she honors the memory of her brother Chief Warrant Officer 2 Terry Thomas who served in the Army as an Apache helicopter pilot.
“We can never do enough to honor those that paid that ultimate sacrifice,” said Graham. “And to make sure we honor their families.”
To find out more about the Woody Williams Foundation including locations of Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments across the country, click here: https://www.woodywilliams.org/
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