We see them all the time on the evening news or via YouTube videos, ecstatic families reuniting with loved ones who are deployed. These happy moments occur all over the country with family and friends full of smiles, tears of joy, and laughter as they all take turns hugging the serviceman or woman until finally taking off for a homecoming celebration of some kind.
It’s wonderful to experience, whether you’re there in person or just watching it through your phone, and these videos highlight the happiness that returning from deployment can bring about.
While all families sacrifice their loved ones: some families get happy reunions, others are not so fortunate.
Blue Star Family
A Blue Star Family flag is flown by those who have family serving our nation’s military. Sadly, sometimes that flag turns to gold when that family member gives their last full measure of devotion to our nation.
A service flag or service banner is a banner officially defined as a white field with a red border, with a blue star for each family member serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities. These were historically displayed during WWI and WWII, though many families still display them today.
Gold Star Family
A Blue Star Family becomes a Gold Star Family when a service member dies during Military Operations. They are immediate relatives of members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have been killed in combat or in support of certain military activities.
Like the blue star flag, these families may choose to display a banner with a Gold Star (or stars if they have sacrificed more than one family member). This was also practiced predominantly during WWI and WWII.
Today, the U.S. Department of Defense issues Gold Star Lapel Buttons to immediate family members of a fallen member of the military. The pins, featuring a gold star on a purple circular background, are worn by spouses, parents, and children of service members killed in the line of duty.
Why Frisco’s Gold Star Family Memorial Matters
The purpose of the Frisco Gold Star Families Project is to honor Gold Star Families, preserve the memory of the fallen, and stand as a stark reminder that Freedom is not free.
We as citizens have an opportunity with this monument to show these families that their loved ones won’t be forgotten, that their community remembers them.
The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument
This stunning black granite monument features two sides. One side bears the words: Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and Relatives who have sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom. The other side tells a story through the four granite panels: Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice. The scenes on each panel are a reflection of each community’s Gold Star Families and their fallen Heroes. At the center of this tribute is the most distinct feature of the monument, the cut out which represents the Loved One who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of Freedom.
Let us NEVER FORGET the sacrifices of our men and women serving and the heavy burden carried by their families.
The location for our Memorial Monument in Frisco has yet to be finalized. We’ll keep you updated on the location but suffice to say it will be a place of honor for folks to pay their respects
One man has led a tireless crusade to erect Gold Star Memorial Monuments across the country. His name is Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams.
Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams
Hershel “Woody” Williams was born on a dairy farm in 1923 in Quiet Dell, West Virginia. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Battle of Iwo Jima with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division. During the battle, Mr. Williams displayed “valiant devotion to duty” and service above self as he “enabled his company to reach its objective”. Mr. Williams’ actions, commitment to his fellow service members, and heroism were recognized on October 5, 1945, when he received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Truman at the White House. Mr. Williams is the sole surviving Marine from WWII, to wear the Medal of Honor.
Mr. Williams’ devotion to duty, service members, veterans and their families began long before that battle and before he entered the Corps. As World War II began, Woody came into direct contact with families in his own community when he delivered Western Union telegrams informing the Gold Star families of the death of their loved one. Woody says that those experiences gave him a “greater appreciation for life and an understanding of a difference in death in the normal world as expected in life, and those lost serving in the military for their country”.
I spoke with Woody about the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument, the Marines and what it means to be an American. You can see our video here:
My Role in the Memorial
We have a responsibility. The word ‘responsibility’ is made up to two words: response and ability. My service is a ‘response’ based on my ‘abilities’. My commitment to serve the veteran community and their families is the mission, I’m responsible to my country and able to help veterans and their families.
Coming home from deployment after Desert Storm, I also gained a sense of purpose to serve my brothers and sisters who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country.
When the opportunity to be on the committee for the Gold Star Memorial Monument right here in Frisco came about, I knew I had to be a part of it. This memorial needs to happen to remember the fallen and their families.
We Can’t Do It Without You -3 Ways to Serve
The three ways you can serve are time, treasure and talent.
Time – volunteer your time to help us coordinate activities involving the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument
Talent – volunteer your talent that could be a resource for us as we prepare the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument.
Please contact me directly at 214-207-9093 or fill out this form and I’ll contact you to discuss sponsorship levels. We can’t do this without you and appreciate any help you can give us.
Please fill in the form below, especially if you have ‘Time’ and ‘Talent’ to find out more about sponsorship levels:
References: Corporoal Hershel 'Woody' Williams Foundation Site: http://hwwmohf.org/index.html Blue Star Families and Gold Star Families: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_flag, http://hwwmohf.org/index.html