Ohio memorial honoring families of fallen service members to be dedicated in Columbus

Everyone gave some. Some gave everything.

As we celebrate Memorial Day, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice, an effort is underway to create a permanent memorial in Columbus to honor the families of our fallen.

The Ohio Gold Star Families Memorial is expected to find a permanent home in Memorial Grove on the grounds of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.

“I had never heard of or known what a Gold Star family member was,” said Brittnay McCall, now Gold Star’s wife. “On October 30, 2007, there was a knock on the door. »

This blow meant that Brittnay McCall’s life would be changed forever with the news that her husband, Daniel, had been killed in Iraq.

“When I lost Daniel, I think I struggled with my own identity and who I was, and I didn’t want to be identified as this widow, but I wanted to be able to carry on his name and his honor.” , McCall said.

Since then, his journey has been about advocating for Gold Star families as part of his own healing.

“The reality is we like to call it ‘families of our fallen’ because the casualties we see, especially these days, are not ‘killed in action’, so gold star is a broad term, including our closest families,” McCall said.

“It’s a club that no one wants to be a member of,” said Jon Bennehoof, a Navy veteran who is now fundraising director for the committee working to create the monument that will honor all Ohio Gold Star families .

The Gold Star Family Memorial was created by Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams to remember the families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice.

The themes depicted on the stone monument include homeland, family, patriotism and sacrifice.

Groundbreaking has already taken place, and now final fundraising efforts and stonework are underway to ensure these families know the impact of their loved one’s sacrifice.

“They know it, but it’s important that they know the community knows it,” Bennehoof said.

For Brittnay, her Gold Star journey continues.

“It’s a part of my life, but I’ve been able to take this heartbreak, go on this journey and build my own life from it, find love again and now have a family that I thought I would have there There are all those years at 22 and 23,” she said.

She hopes the community will rally around Gold Star families with the most important message of all.

“We are in this together with you and we want to be there to support you and honor and remember your loved ones who are no longer here,” McCall said.

The dedication of the Ohio Columbus Monument is scheduled for September 29. Additional assistance is needed to meet the fundraising goal for this effort. If you would like more information on how to help, click here.

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