FORKS — The VFW announced the groundbreaking ceremony for the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument — created by the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation — will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Forks Transit Center.
The project started in October 2018, when the VFW sought permission to place the monument at the transit center at 551 S. Forks Ave., and then began to raise the $90,000 that was needed to purchase the monument, according to committee member Janet Hughes in a press release.
The other committee members for this project are Mike McCracken, Bill Plumley, Mike Rowley, Tom Hughes and Christi Baron, who also is the editor of the Forks Forum.
The monument will honor Gold Star families, who are the immediate family to a member of the Armed Forces who was killed or died while serving.
The monument will be made of black granite and will feature two distinct sides, Hughes said.
One side will feature the words “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and Relatives who have sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom,” Hughes said.
The other side, according to Baron, will feature a four-part story about “Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice” told in panels to serve as a reflection of the Gold Star Families and their fallen heroes. At the center of these four images, will be a cut-out that represents the loved one who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
The idea for the monument came from the U.S. Marine Corps veteran and WWII Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last surviving Marine from WWII who wears the Medal of Honor, Hughes said.
The Gold Star originated in WWI from Army Capt. Robert Queissner, who had two sons serving at the front lines. He created and patented the blue star banner which would go on to become the unofficial symbol of families with a child/family member in the service, according to Hughes. The star would change from blue to gold upon the death of the service member in the line of duty.
“Every family, even today, pray their blue star will never turn gold,” Hughes said.
This project has been a combined effort among those on the Olympic Peninsula, with many different fundraisers and incentives to help the VFW and project committee reach their goal, according to Hughes.
One such incentive is a monument coin that is given for every $100 donation. Only 250 coins are available.