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Charleston State Capitol Sculptures
Item 14 of 16
This is a contributing entry for Charleston State Capitol Sculptures and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument honors both soldiers who have died in the line of duty and the families that support them. The project was made possible by Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, a West Virginia native and the sole surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Pacific Theater of World War II. The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was officially dedicated in 2020, making it one of the newest sculptures on capitol grounds.

  • Font, Memorial, Cumulus, Headstone
  • Plant, Memorial, Landscaping, Headstone

The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is the result of Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams' work honoring veterans. Williams is a West Virginia native and the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Pacific Theater of World War II. In 2013, Williams created the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation to begin creating Gold Star Families Memorials across the United States. Support from the West Virginia legislature and private donations made it possible to bring one of these monuments to capitol grounds. Funding was approved in 2018, ground was broken in 2019, and following delays due to COVID-19, the memorial was dedicated in late 2020. The monument’s location was selected due to its proximity to the West Virginia Veterans Memorial and the West Virginia Female Veterans Memorial.

The completed work features four panels which stand over twelve feet tall. Starting on the left is the homeland panel, which features West Virginia's state seal in front of the New River Gorge Bridge. Next is the family panel, which honors those who stay behind while their loved ones serve. To the right of the family panel is the patriot panel, which has an iconic image of Marines raising a flag on Mount Suribachi. This scene is particularly meaningful to Williams, as he witnessed this event in person. Finally, the far right sacrifice panel honors those who do not return from their service. The patriot and sacrifice panels are separated by negative space in the shape of a saluting soldier, a further reminder of the enlisted who died in the line of duty.

Charleston WV—Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation. Accessed January 14th 2021. http://hwwmohf.org/monuments/charleston-wv.html.

Fundraising underway for Gold Star Family Monument, Montgomery Herald. November 8th 2017. Accessed January 14th 2021. http://hwwmohf.org/assets/files/charleston-fundraising.pdf.

Groups donate $15,000 for Gold Star Monument project, WSAZ. October 31st 2017. Accessed January 14th 2021. http://hwwmohf.org/assets/files/charleston-wv-groups-donate-15000.pdf.

Gold Star memorial at Capitol complex is open to visitors, Herald-Dispatch. December 28th 2020. Accessed January 14th 2021. http://hwwmohf.org/news/capitol-complex-gsfmm-open.html.

Ground broken on monument to honor Gold Star Families, WV Metro News. July 28th 2019. Accessed January 14th 2021. http://hwwmohf.org/news/charleston-wv-ground-broken.html.

Kabler, Phil. Capitol Building Commission approves location for new Capitol monument, Charleston Gazette-Mail. October 11th 2018. Accessed January 14th 2021. http://hwwmohf.org/news/capitol-bldg-comm-approves-location.html.

Lannom, Andrea. Woody Williams commends legislators on passing resolution supporting Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, The Register-Herald. January 24th 2018. Accessed January 14th 2021. http://hwwmohf.org/assets/files/hww-commends-legislators.pdf.

Lawrence, Chris. Gold Star Memorial unveiled on the state capitol grounds, WV Metro News. October 2nd 2020. Accessed January 14th 2021. http://hwwmohf.org/news/charleston-wv-unveiled.html.

Lawrence, Chris. Gold Star Family Monument waiting for dedication date, WV Metro News. May 24th 2020. Accessed January 14th 2021. http://hwwmohf.org/news/charleston-waiting-dedication-date.html.

Zuckerman, Jake. WWII Medal of Honor Recipient Williams thanks legislators at Capitol, Charleston Gazette-Mail. January 24th 2018. Accessed January 14th 2021. http://hwwmohf.org/assets/files/hww-thanks-legislators.pdf.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

West Virginia Press Association. Accessed January 14, 2021. https://wvpress.org/uncategorized/gold-star-families-memorial-now-a-featured-at-west-virginia-state-capitol-complex/.

West Virginia Press Association. Accessed January 14, 2021. https://wvpress.org/uncategorized/gold-star-families-memorial-now-a-featured-at-west-virginia-state-capitol-complex/.