Local volunteers are raising money to construct a monument in Lynnwood’s Veterans Memorial Park that would honor the families of military service members who died.
In 2019, Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith announced the city was selected to be the recipient of a Gold Star Families monument that would be installed at Veterans Park, located at 44th Avenue West and 194th Street Southwest. In partnership with the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, the Washington State American Gold Star Mothers have formed a grassroots effort to raise $60,000 to cover the cost of monument construction.
“Since this memorial was first mentioned…we have made great strides in making it a reality,” said Washington State American Gold Star Mothers Chapter President Monica McNeal.
The proposal for the memorial will be unique. In addition to honoring families of those who died in battle, it will also be the first Gold Star Families monument to recognize indigenous military members and those who died by suicide as a result of their service, said volunteer Robert White.
“This will be the first (Gold Star Families monument) that recognizes both First Nations and those who died by suicide,” he said.
American Gold Star Mothers was formed in 1928 to provide support to mothers whose sons or daughters died in war. There are approximately 50 Gold Star Family memorial sites across more than 40 states.
The memorial was scheduled to be completed by 2021 but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new unveiling is set for Veterans Day in November 2022. The city also has plans to redevelop the park.
White said organizers have been able to raise more than half of the funds through individual donations from service organizations like Rotary clubs and VFWs and plan to meet with more. Additionally, he said they have applied for a $30,000 grant for the memorial.
“It’s not just about fundraising but also raising the awareness of Gold Star Mothers and what this memorial means to this community,” he said.
Should donations exceed the set goal, White said any additional money will help fund a Gold Star Family Memorial Monument in Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington. Donations can be made at goldstarmomswa.org.
Checks can be made out to Washington State American Gold Star Mothers Monica McNeal and mailed to 51 Pine Street #304, Edmonds, WA 98020.
–By Cody Sexton