Honoring those who are left to mourn

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The Cedar Park community came together Sunday and made a promise to area families that have lost loved ones in the line of duty – “your sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

More than 100 gathered at Veterans Park for the groundbreaking of the Central Texas Gold Star Families Memorial Monument. Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell and State Rep. Tony Dale spoke at the event, sharing the importance of the project, the journey to this point and the journey ahead.

Honoring the families that have sacrificed is at the core of the

project.

“The title that no one wants is Gold Star Mother or Gold Star Father,” Dale said. “There is indeed a heavy burden that comes with that, so our purpose here today is to recognize these families. Not just the sacrifice of the service members, but the sacrifices of the families that go along with that.”

Gold Star Families are those who have lost service members in combat, signified by a banner – often displayed in a window – with a gold star on it.

The monument to honor these families is planned for a space along the sidewalk at the foot of the current memorial at Veterans Park. 

The effort is being spearheaded by American Legion Post 911, but many people and groups have had a hand in getting the project off the ground. Powell hopes the new monument impacts the community as much as the original.

“This memorial, in every possible way, was an incredible community effort,” he said of the existing memorial. “This moment right now is one of those times I’m here going, ‘this is doing exactly what it was intended to do, which is honor our service members, both living and fallen’.”

For Powell, the new memorial will be an extension of how the community honors all those who have sacrificed.

“Those who are entitled to display a service flag are bearing a burden for the rest of us,” he said. “But of course it is those Gold Star Families that have born the heaviest burden of all.”

“I hope it is those families who aren’t quite ready to go to the luncheons, that maybe aren’t quite ready to come to this, that will hear about this monument after it is built and will make the time to come see it and know in a small way this community cares for them, honors them, but more than anything, that loves them.”

The community’s family-focus makes it the perfect place for this new memorial.

“Cedar Park’s soul is its families,” Powell said. “It is raising children, its grandparents moving here to be closer to their children. It’s family activities and doing things together. For those, and so many other reasons, it is incredibly appropriate for us to be here today to break ground on a memorial and monument to recognize families.”

With Sunday’s groundbreaking, the focus has turned to fundraising through the American Legion Post. Dale thanks the city for believing in and supporting the project through planning and the donation of land for the monument, and said now all efforts can be put into raising money.

“We have got to raise money to build this thing now, so the city has made their commitment and our end is coming,” he said.

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