Dozens of U.S. military veterans, Gold Star families, state lawmakers and civilians turned out on a sun-soaked Veterans Day afternoon in Jefferson City for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.
It will be built near the Missouri Capitol, next to the Missouri Veterans Memorial and next to the Bicentennial bridge entrance.
Gold Star mother Sandy Deraps of central Missouri’s Jamestown, whose son Leon was killed in Iraq in 2006, was a guest speaker.
“The Gold Star monument will have a silhouette of a soldier that represents the fact, although the soldier isn’t here physically, we remember them and we pause to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Deraps says.
She says the monument will serve as a reminder that Americans are free, because of the U.S. military members who died.
The black granite monument will be seven feet tall and 12 feet long, and will be placed on city property next to the Missouri Veterans Memorial. Jefferson City businesswoman Sharon Naught, the monument committee co-chair, tells Missourinet they’ve already raised about $30,000.
“The monument itself plus benches will be about $75,000. We would like to raise at least $125,000 for maintenance over the years,” Naught says.
Anyone interested in donating can do so by contacting Rosie Verslues at Legends Bank in Jefferson City.
The monument will have four panels with themes of homeland, family, patriot and sacrifice. Naught says the granite benches will give visitors an opportunity to reflect on the meanings of the four panels.
As for Ms. Deraps, she says her son Leon would be proud of the memorial.
“Well I think he would want other people to always remember that freedom is not free, and how important it is to remember them who went before us,” says Deraps.
Leon Deraps, a Marine, was 19 when he was killed in Iraq. Jamestown area residents lined the road from Jamestown to Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church and cemetery in Cedron with American flags, before the funeral service.
Ms. Deraps also notes thousands of schoolchildren visit the Missouri Capitol annually, adding the monument will help them understand history.
Missouri House Veterans Committee Chairman Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, is also helping to raise money for the monument. He notes thousands of Missourians have died in service to their country, beginning with those killed during the War of 1812.
Sharon Naught says Jefferson City is one of just five monuments that will be located on state capitol grounds.
Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with Jefferson City businesswoman Sharon Naught and Gold Star mother Sandy Deraps of mid-Missouri’s Jamestown. The interview was recorded next to the Missouri Veterans Memorial in Jefferson City, on November 11, 2020:
Copyright © 2020 · Missourinet