The National D-Day Memorial has unveiled a new monument honoring the family members of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
For the first time, people got a chance to see the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Bedford this Memorial Day.
“You never fill that void,” said Ruth Ambrogi, a Gold Star mother. “When you lose a son or a daughter, you lose a right arm. It’s gone. You lose part of your soul.”
Ruth Ambrogi and her husband Franco lost their son Paul in 1993. He was 26 years old and serving in the Navy when his A-6 Intruder plane went down during a training mission, she said.
“He would not let anyone in his squadron go unattended to or to go up in faulty planes,” Ruth Ambrogi said. “And then as it turned out, his plane was the one that took him down.”
The new monument pays tribute to those who have lost loved ones like the Ambrogis.
“The first thing I see is the missing man,” Mathilde Bennett said of the monument.
Bennett’s brother has been missing in action since 1972 when he was fighting in Vietnam.
“It’s so heartwarming to know people care enough to honor those who sacrificed so much,” Bennett said.
“America owes these people an honor and a tribute that we have never given,” said Hershel “Woody” Williams, a Medal of Honor recipient.
Williams has traveled the country trying to get monuments built for Gold Star families in every state. There is at least one monument in 38 states so far, he said, and many more communities are interested in building their own.
“Before this is over, many, many communities in our country are going to do what this committee did,” Williams said. “This community, for the first time, is really recognizing Gold Star families.”
“This is for the mothers,” said Ruth Ambrogi. “This is for the families. So it’s important not only to honor the soldiers, but their families – the ones they left behind, the ones who are still mourning.”
Another monument for Gold Star families is in the works in Hampton, Williams said.