Gold Star Families, the families of those that have lost a service member in the line of duty, have made the headlines a lot lately after four American servicemen were killed overseas more than two weeks ago.
Closer to home, Saturday, Beebe will break ground on its new Gold Star Monument. One Central Arkansas Gold Star Family said, that's where the focus should be; honoring those lost, not politicizing their deaths.
Two weeks ago, four American servicemen were killed in action in Niger. President Trump called the families of those killed, and what followed left those families in the crosshair.
"He said to the wife, 'well, I guess he knew what he was getting into.' How insensitive could you be,” asked
Representative Frederica Wilson, a Democratic Representative from Florida about the call she heard between President Trump and Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow.
For many of us, monuments tend to fade into the background after a while. For the families of those they represent, they can't be ignored. Seeing the monuments, or even headlines like the ones we are seeing about Gold Star Families draw up memories of loved ones lost.
Deborah Johnson is a Gold Star Mom. Her son Jeremy died while serving in the Army.
"It's not something that ever goes away. That loss is always there. There's always somebody missing at every family gathering. Even though time passes, and other people forget, your family never forgets,” the mother told us. She's been fighting for years to get a Gold Star Monument at the State Capitol.
Saturday, several Arkansas veterans will break ground on Arkansas' first Gold Star Monument.
"We always have monuments for Korean War, Vietnam, all those wars, but there's nothing for the families. This memorial is specifically for the families left behind in those wars,” said Air Force Veteran, Bubba Beason, adding, our Gold Star Families shouldn't be pawns in political chess. "I don't think this should be politicized in any way. I just think we should hold them in a high regard because they gave their life for the freedoms we enjoy every day. The freedoms we wake up and go to bed with. That's what we should focus on."
Johnson says, talk about Gold Star Families should be reserved for honoring those lost. "It really frustrates you because you know what they should be talking about is the loss of the life, the service to our country, and that's the bottom line for it. It isn't about whether you get a letter. Though it does make you feel good as a family to receive a letter or a phone call from an official. But that’s what it all boils down to for the families: we’ve lost someone very near and dear in a tragic way.”
Johnson says more funds are needed to get a Gold Star Monument at the State Capitol. For information on how you can help visit the website.
If you are interested in taking part in the groundbreaking of the Gold Star Families Memorial, or want to meet the WWII veteran that designed it visit their website.