A one-word compromise has been reached in Missouri legislation involving a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in southwest Missouri’s Point Lookout, near Branson.

This is the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout (2019 photo courtesy of College of the Ozarks)

A bill from State Rep. Jeff Justus, R-Branson, now recognizes the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument at College of the Ozarks as “an” official Gold Star Families Memorial Monument of Missouri, instead of “the”.

“There’s a lot of Gold Star monuments in Missouri and we don’t want to not have people appreciate that, so we changed to an official Gold Star monument for Missouri,” Justus says.

Gold Star families are the immediate family members of U.S. military members who have died in combat or military service.

Representative Justus’ bill stalled on the Missouri House floor in mid-March, over concerns about the term “the official”. Lawmakers in both parties who represent the region near the Jefferson Barracks memorial monument in St. Louis County expressed opposition to Justus’ original bill over that term.

Justus amended the bill to address those concerns. The Missouri House Veterans Committee has approved the compromise legislation, which is House Concurrent Resolution 9.

“The purpose (of the bill) is to get people to understand that families all suffer when they lose a service member,” says Justus. “And this is what the Gold Star Family (legislation) does. And this will be able to have it all over the state.”

State Rep. Jeff Justus, R-Branson, speaks on the Missouri House floor on March 12, 2019 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

There are also Gold Star memorial monuments in Jefferson City, in Jefferson Barracks Park and elsewhere.

Justus is hopeful his war monument legislation will receive Missouri House approval. He says the bill has been strengthened with the change.

“This is part of the process that you go through and actually, to me, this is for the better because it will expand it and be (in) other places that can have it,” Justus says.

Justus tells Missourinet he respects the concerns raised last month by State Reps. Shane Roden, R-Cedar Hill, Doug Beck, D-St. Louis County, and others.

Roden notes mothers who’ve lost sons in Iraq have worked to get a monument at Jefferson Barracks Park near St. Louis.

Representative Beck, who serves on the House Veterans Committee, tells Missourinet he’ll vote for Justus’ bill, if it comes to the House floor.

Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and State Rep. Jeff Justus, R-Branson, which was recorded at the Statehouse in Jefferson City on April 11, 2019:

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