In April 2021, the Indiana War Memorials Commission broke ground on the first monument constructed within the Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District since 1998. Located just south of Indianapolis’ Central Public Library, on the northeast side of the American Legion Mall near the intersection of St. Clair and Pennsylvania Streets, the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument will commemorate the valor and sacrifice of all Hoosier service members who have lost their lives while in service to our country and honor the families left behind–known as Gold Star Families. They are a vital part of our country’s military community and history.
The term “gold star family” originated during World War I when families displayed small banners with a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the Armed Forces. If their service member died while in service, the family replaced the blue star with a gold star to let the community know that their service member was killed in action.
America’s Gold Star Families
Today, America’s Gold Star Families is an organization that remembers and honors the fallen heroes who served in the United States Armed Forces and cares for their survivors through programs and services at no cost to the survivors. The organization was created to provide honor, hope and healing to those grieving any military loss through active-duty service. Gold Star Families include all military families and loved ones from all branches of service, representing all conflicts.
Gold Star Families carry the weight of their loved ones’ sacrifices for the rest of their lives. In Indianapolis, there has never been a space where our Gold Star Families can lay down their burdens. The newly constructed Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in the American Legion Mall will provide this reflection space for all Gold Star Families.
Unveiling of a New Monument
The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is the first of its kind in the Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District because it honors, not only the veterans who perished during active duty–spanning decades and multiple conflicts–but also the families of those fallen heroes. The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was privately funded through the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation whose mission is to build a tribute memorial to the sacrifices of families in every community across the United States.
The dedication of the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument took place on Saturday, May 1, 2021 in the American Legion Mall, with appearances from honored guests, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Hoosier Medal of Honor recipient Sammy L. Davis, and WWII Medal of Honor recipient Herschel “Woody” Williams. The Monument is now open for visitors from dawn to dusk in the American Legion Mall.