CHESAPEAKE, Va. — According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 651,000 Americans have died in battle dating back to the Revolutionary War; another more than 530,000 have died while in uniformed service to the country.
For each and every one of them, there's a family left behind: a Gold Star Family.
The nonprofit Herschel Woody Williams Foundation, named for the late Medal of Honor recipient, has a stated mission to honor, recognize, and serve Gold Star Families and the legacy of their loved ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
This weekend at Chesapeake City Park, the foundation will dedicate its 124th Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.
"It should've been the first place in the state of Virginia. Truly. This memorial should've been there a long time ago," said Northern Virginia businessman and Woody Williams Foundation honorary board member David Keuhner.
He helped lead the drive to raise the $60,000 needed for the monument, with help from generous benefactors like the Patriot Guard Riders, the Beazley Foundation and the City of Chesapeake.
"It's Memorial Day for them every day," Keuhner told 13News Now. "It's unfortunate but not many people know what a Gold Star Family is. So, I think this memorial also acts as a piece of education. How do we educate the community that our memorial represents the families that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, for our freedom?"
The Tidewater Virginia Gold Star Families Memorial Monument will be dedicated this Sunday at 1 p.m. at Chesapeake City Park.