July 15 2019
Greg Jordan | Bluefield Daily Telegraph
PRINCETON — An effort to create a memorial honoring the families of veterans who lost their lives while serving their country is getting underway in Mercer County with a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient’s encouragement.
During the July meeting of the Mercer County Commission, Commissioner Bill Archer said he recently met with Hershel Woody Williams, a World War II recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Williams, who received the medal for his actions during the 1944 Battle of Iwo Jima, spoke in late June during the 2019 Marine Corps League Mideast Division Conference in Princeton.
“He stopped me on the way out,” Archer recalled. “He wanted to talk about the Gold Star Families.”
The Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments honor families that lost loved ones who served in the nation’s wars. Woods, who is now 95 years old, expressed his intent to extend Gold Star memorials “right across the United States,” Archer said. There are about 51 monuments now standing in the country.
The monuments, which cost approximately $45,000, are made of black granite with two sides, according to the Gold Star Families Memorial website. The words Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and Relatives who have sacrificed a Love One for our Freedom are on one side of the monuments. On the opposite side is Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice. Each panel is designed to be a reflection of each community’s Gold Star Families and fallen heroes. In the monument’s center is a distinctive cut out representing veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Money for a Gold Star Families Monument could be found through local fundraising, Archer said.
“Private entities want to donate to it,” he said. “I think we’d be OK as far as fundraising because I think a lot of people will want to participate.”
The monument would not require a large site. It could be placed at the north end of the Mercer County Courthouse or near the main entrance where new access ramps are scheduled to be constructed, Archer stated.
“I’m all for it,” Mercer County Commissioner Gene Buckner said.
Commissioner Greg Puckett asked what the next steps toward establishing a monument would be, and Archer said Williams would send him the information the county needs in order to proceed. The commissioners voted unanimously to proceed with the project.
Williams was unavailable for comment. More information is available at the Gold Star Memorial Families: Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation website.