Nov. 18, 2016
Sara Karnes | Branson Tri-Lakes News
College of the Ozarks held a ground-breaking ceremony for its newest memorial honoring Gold Star families Thursday.
Gold Star families are folks who are directly related to someone who died while serving in the military.
Bruce Heilman, chancellor of the University of Richmond, and Medal of Honor recipient Hershel Woody Williams both spoke during the ceremony.
Heilman tours cross-country on his motorcycle, visiting memorials throughout the United States. He was a marine in World War II in the South Pacific and Japan. Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for his actions on the island of Iwo Jima in February 1945.
Both men shared how thankful they are that C of O is building the memorial. After the ceremony, Director of Patriotic Activities Brian Cizek said the memorial will hopefully be completed by early April.
Although the college isn’t sure what the exact cost will be, the memorial is being subsidized in part through the partnership with Big Cedar’s Legends of Golf and Bass Pro Shops, Cizek said.
“It’s a general fund that the Bass Pro Shops and Legends of Golf are very gracious to give us and that’s what we decide to dedicate that money towards,” he said. “They just give it to us. However we want to use it, we use it and that’s what we decide to use the money for: to build memorials.”
The college has two more memorials planned for that area, Cizek said.
“We’re going to do a memorial for each of the major wars,” he said.
In a press release, C of O President Jerry Davis said, “We are honored to provide this Memorial for those who have lost loved ones who have been killed in service to our country. They made a huge sacrifice for our freedom and should be properly recognized. We can never replace lost loved ones, but we can honor their memories and these families who have given so much.”
The black granite monument will feature two sides, according to a C of O press release.
“One side will bear the following inscription: Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Mothers, Fathers, and Relatives who have sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom,” it stated. “The other side tells a story through the four granite panels: Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice. The scenes on each panel are a reflection of each community’s Gold Star Families and their fallen heroes. At the center of this tribute is the most distinct feature of the Monument, the cut out which represents the loved one who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. College of the Ozarks seniors Katherine Yung, art education major, and Emma Carter, studio art/graphic design major, will help design the four panels.”