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South Jordan Journal

Gold Star Family Memorial Monument to be placed in South Jordan

Apr 03, 2022 07:07PM ● By Rachel Aubrey

Woody Williams stands at salute through opening of a Gold Star Family Memorial monument. (Photo courtesy of Woody Williams Foundation)

By Rachel Aubrey| [email protected]

The city of South Jordan, in partnership with the Woody Williams Foundation, will be adding a Gold Star Family Memorial Monument to the South Jordan Cemetery located at 10630 S. and 1055 West. The monument will aim to honor the families of those fallen, who continually live with the loss of loved ones.

The Woody Williams Foundation is a nonprofit organization named after the last living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, Hershel “Woody” Williams of Quiet Dell, West Virginia. The mission of the organization is “to honor, recognize, and serve Gold Star Families and the legacy of their loved ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

According to the American Legion, during the first world war, a blue star flag represented that a family had someone serving in the U.S. armed forces. If the family's service member died, the blue star was replaced with a gold star.

“We have so many memorials for those veterans, and on-service members and for those fallen service members,” said Alex Nauret, Director of Programs for the Woody Williams Foundation. “A lot of times, and even still today, [it’s] the education about the families of those service members, they also sacrifice too.”

What started as a one-time monument placing in West Virginia, now has become a national acknowledgment with 90 monuments, at least one in each of the 50 states including one U.S. territory, and another 85 monuments in progress. The monument to be placed in South Jordan late this year will be the fourth in Utah once completed. A completed monument was dedicated in August 2020 in North Ogden, one was dedicated in March in St. George, and a monument is planned for Sandy City for the year 2023.

“Woody’s vision and his mission and his goal in life [was] to ensure that the education of the community and the citizens, [that] they truly understand what a gold star family member is,” Nauret said.

The monument is made from India black granite and displays a gold star and cutout soldier standing at salute on one side, and on the other side four images are selected by the monument committee in the given location and display the words: homeland, family, patriot and sacrifice.

Cemetery Sexton Kyle Bowen heads the committee for South Jordan which was formed by Mayor Dawn Ramsey. Bowen manages and oversees the daily operations of the cemetery including maintenance and burial-related activities. According to Bowen, the images selected for the four panels of the monument will be unique to South Jordan.

The Foundation requires that all monument committees, no matter the location, have at least one representative who is a Gold Star family member. Sergeant First Class Scott Moxson, a former South Jordan resident, joined the Utah Army National Guard when he was 17 years old back in 2008. Moxson’s two younger brothers followed suit shortly after when they came of age.

In January 2020, while on active duty, Moxson’s brother, Sergeant Douglas Lee Moxson, took his own life as a result of the traumatic things he saw and dealt with during the approximately nine months he spent working with the Southwest Border Mission.

“Gold Star families are families of service members who died while on active-duty orders,” Moxson said. “Whether they died while in the United States or serving in a combat area.”

After his brother’s passing, Moxson was made more aware of the Foundation and the Gold Star Family network. He subsequently worked on the committee for the North Ogden monument. His parents worked on the committee for the St. George monument.

 “The memorials are not about the soldier who has fallen,” Moxson said. “The memorials are about the survivors and families that have to live without their son, daughter, mom or dad.”

Moxson hopes that this memorial and the others like it will help bring awareness to the mental health of the families who have lost loved ones to traumatic experiences.

Those wanting to donate to the monument may visit the following website