PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A tribute to families who have lost loved ones in the military now stands at Pensacola’s Veterans Memorial Park.
A Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was unveiled at the park Wednesday morning.
It is the 75th monument to be dedicated in the United States, and it has been more than two years in the making.
“It means the world to us as Gold Star families because we now have a special place that we can go and meet together that represents all branches of the military, all of our stories, everyone who was killed due to their service in the military,” said Ashley Lukasiewicz, a Gold Star wife. “It’s special for the community to raise awareness for who we are.”
Lukasiewicz said more than $130,000 was raised to bring the monument to Pensacola.
The monuments are an initiative of World War II Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams, and his foundation, the Medal of Honor Foundation. Williams spoke at the unveiling Wednesday about the importance of recognizing the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. He made it his mission to establish these monuments in as many communities as possible in all 50 states.
About two dozen Gold Star families attended the ceremony Wednesday morning. A representative from each family was given a yellow rose to lie at the base of the monument as bag pipes played Amazing Grace.
Those who attendance said they were grateful for the monument.
“It is a big honor to know that the city of Pensacola is remembering the families that are left behind,” said retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer and Gold Star wife Nancy Bullock-Prevot.
Dean Williams, who has served 18 years in the Marines Corp, said the monument was a reminder of what Veterans Day is really about.
“Freedoms not free. There’s a great thing and a bad thing about it. Somebody pays for it, and it’s usually those who go unsung,” Williams said. “It’s bigger than barbecues and discounts.”
Veterans Memorial Park is located at 200 S. 10th Ave. in Pensacola.
- What’s Working: Dramatic fire footage drawing attention
- Interactive border-wall mural offers glimpse into lives of deported migrants
- Michigan’s Alex Rose falls short in discus prelims
- Olympic champ Sunisa Lee still focused on college, not fame
- Mother arrested after 12-year-old gives birth to 24-year-old man’s baby