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Medal of Honor recipient praises Quad Cities site for Gold Star Families monument

Medal of Honor recipient Hershel Williams salutes as the national anthem is sung before the Military Bowl football game in Annapolis, Md., on Dec. 28, 2015.

STARS AND STRIPES

By LINDA COOK | Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa | Published: June 14, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — The last surviving U.S. Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient from World War II says Quad Cities is the perfect place for a Gold Star Families memorial monument.

The Rock Island Arsenal Chapter of the Association of the United States Army (RIA AUSA) on Thursday hosted a news conference where Hershel “Woody” Williams, 95, spoke at the Palmer College of Chiropractic Welcome Center, Davenport.

Williams was in the Quad Cities to give a community presentation Friday (Flag Day) at Rock Island Arsenal and attend the Army Ball.

He founded the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation to honor Gold Star Families, and helped establish 47 Gold Star Family Memorial Monuments across the United States.

The purpose of the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is to honor Gold Star Families — family members of a fallen service member who died while serving in a time of conflict

The black granite monuments include four granite panels: homeland, family, patriot and sacrifice. Scenes on each panel reflect each community’s Gold Star Families and their fallen heroes, Williams said.

At the center of the tribute is a cutout that represents the loved one who paid the ultimate sacrifice, he said.

Dr. Julie Johnson, who was on hand at the news conference, works at Palmer College of Chiropractic. She is the president of the Rock Island Arsenal Chapter of the Association of the United States Army.

The chapter is moving forward with the idea of a monument for the Quad Cities, she said. “The reason we’re here today is because Palmer has stepped forward with tremendous support for our military in a variety of ways,” she said.

“The families who had never been mentioned, who had never had anything said about them … they didn’t have anybody to talk to,” Williams said. The monuments, he said, “bring Gold Star Families together. They can share their grief with each other.

“There needs to be one of (the monuments) in every state, and in many communities. With the history of this (Quad-City) community, what a perfect place this could be for a monument."

Once the community realizes such a monument is long overdue, it’s not hard to raise funds and get people to help, Williams said.

For more information on Williams and the monument initiative, go to the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation website at www.hwwmohf.org.

©2019 Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa

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