College of the Ozarks plans monument for families of fallen service members

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POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. -- College of the Ozarks will break ground for the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 11 at Veterans Grove on the campus. The public may attend the brief ceremony.

The purpose of the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is to honor Gold Star Families (those who have lost immediate family members killed in their service to the country), to preserve the memory of the fallen, and stand as a stark reminder that freedom is not free.

“We are honored to provide this Memorial for those who have lost loved ones who have been killed in service to our country,” said College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis. “They made a huge sacrifice for our freedom and should be properly recognized. We can never replace lost loved ones, but we can honor their memories and these families who have given so much.”

This will be the first Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in the state of Missouri.

The black granite monument will feature two sides. One side will bear the following inscription: Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Mothers, Fathers, 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. College of the Ozarks senior Katherine Yung, art education major, will help design the four panels.

The Memorial on the College of the Ozarks campus is presented in cooperation with The Hershel Woody Williams Congressional Medal of Honor Education Foundation, Inc. Hershel “Woody” Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman for his actions on the island of Iwo Jima in February 1945.

The Hershel Woody Williams Congressional Medal of Honor Education Foundation, Inc. was established in 2010 and is a charitable 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that pursues specific endeavors and goals through the vision of Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. The Foundation encourages, with the assistance of the American public and community leaders, establishing permanent Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in communities throughout the country and provides scholarships to eligible Gold Star Children. Its' purpose is to honor Gold Star Families, relatives, and Gold Star Children who have sacrificed a loved one in the service of their country.

“Heroes are those who paid the final sacrifice with their life,” Williams said. “Those are the true heroes. This Monument pays tribute and honors the families of those who sacrificed one or more of their loved ones in the armed forces for our freedoms.”

Visit the foundation’s website at http://hwwmohfoundation.org/gold-star-monument.html

The Department of Defense presents one of two lapel pins to Gold Star Family members. The pins are worn by the survivors to recognize their sacrifices and as a way for others to pay tribute to them. The first pin is the Gold Star Lapel Pin, which was established by Congress in 1947 and is presented to spouses and family members of service members killed in combat. The second pin is the Next of Kin Lapel Pin, which is presented to immediate family members of service members who die while serving outside of combat operations. This pin features a gold star on a gold background.