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Gold Star Family Memorial To Be Unveiled At Air Force Museum

The Dayton-area monument will look similiar to this one, but each of the 50 monuments has a set of images enscribed on the reverse side.
Courtesy of the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation
The Dayton-area monument will look similiar to this one, but each of the 50 monuments has a set of images enscribed on the reverse side.

The nation's 50th Gold Star Families Memorial Monument will be unveiled Tuesday at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. LTJG Matt Previts is part ofthe group responsible for bringing the monument to Dayton. He says the monument is about creating something special for those who've lost loved ones in the military.

"This is a space for them to go when they want to reflect or have time with family or just remember their loved one," he says.

The monument is comprised of four granite panels, each with a different image portraying homeland, family, patriotism and sacrifice. Local communities choose what images they want on each stone.

Previts says the images chosen locally are of Mt. Rushmore, the shadow of a family, the flag raising at Iwo Jima, and the headstones of Arlington National Cemetery. There's also a cutout of a saluting soldier to represent the fallen.

He hopes the memorial will provide Gold Star families a sense of comfort.

"We honor their sacrifice. We honor what they've given," he says. "They've given so much for all of us and [I hope] they feel the recognition. We as a community can't understand their pain, we can't know what they've been through, but we certainly can let them that we're grateful to them."

A public unveiling is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday. Several Gold Star families are expected to be on hand. Previts says many travel around the country to support families in other communities that have supported them.

The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was the brainchild of Hershel "Woody" Williams, the sole surviving Marine from WWII to wear the Medal of Honor. You can read more about Williams and his foundation here.

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Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Most recently, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She served on the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors from 2007 - 2009.