As the state celebrated Memorial day on the weekend with parades and patriotic displays, a memorial honoring families with loved ones in the U.S. Military who did not return from combat was unveiled in Bozeman under gloomy skies, where 20 Gold Star families made the trek to honor the ultimate sacrifice of their loved ones.
Created by the Woody Williams foundation, over 100 of these memorials have been established across the country, but this is the first one in the state of Montana. The Monuments provide a place of permanence for Gold Star Families to gather and utilize as they see fit. According to the foundation, these memorials:
Establish and provide a space the Gold Star Families can call their own in honor of their Loved Ones and their family
Demonstrate to Gold Star Families that their community cares for them and appreciates their sacrifice while also honoring the ultimate sacrifice of their Loved Ones
Establish and strengthen local Gold Star Family communities through Gold Star Family outreach events associated with each monument location
Educate the general public about Gold Star Families’ enduring sacrifices and the ultimate sacrifice made by their Loved Ones
One member who was appreciative of the unveiling was Gold Star family member Gail Maehl, who lost her brother Captain Micheal MacKinnon in Iraq back in 2005. He was only 30 years old when he was killed by an IED and left behind a wife and two kids. She told KPAX
We don’t want our loved ones to be forgotten. They sacrificed for this county. It’s very important that they are remembered and honored..It means a lot when people come out, especially when the weather is like this and support our troops, support our veterans, support America really…I’m honored to be a part of the Gold Star Family in the sense that no one wants to be in this group, but the friendships and the quality people that we have met has meant everything.”