Giving Back – Gold Star Families

As a member of the Armed Services, you are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation. Each Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine goes through countless hours of training to prepare them for the possibility that they will meet the enemy on the battlefield. When that moment comes, each man and woman composes themselves with the greatest dignity and executes the mission to their utmost ability. Despite all of our technology, training and preparation the inevitable still occurs and brave men and women continue to fall in combat. At that moment, the sacrifice of the individual is fleeting but the impact is enduring – especially for the families of the fallen. The Department of Defense recognizes these families with Gold Star Lapel Button, or the “Gold Star pin”. This powerful symbol is not only a recognition of the family’s sacrifice but also a commitment to the long term support of the family.

Recognizing a conspicuous absence, Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams set out to honor Gold Star families with a Memorial to be erected in each state. He set about designing and raising funds for the erection of the first Gold Star Families Memorial in his home state of West Virginia and is currently working to establish the second Memorial in Pennsylvania. The Memorial is planned to be placed on the grounds of the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge near the Medal of Honor Grove. The fundraising and project planning is spearheaded by Gold Star Family member Cory Etchberger, son of Medal of Honor recipient Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger. Along with the Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove well over half of the funds necessary to realize the Memorial has already been raised.

Pennsylvania Gold Star Families Memorial

Pennsylvania Gold Star Families Memorial

Gold Star Families Memorial


Cory reached out for assistance to complete the project and Muhlenberg Greene Architects is honored to announce that we, along with landscape architect Terry L. Souders, are volunteering our services and technical expertise to help site and landscape the Gold Star Families Memorial for Pennsylvania. We had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Etchberger and members of the Freedoms Foundation staff and are excited to help advance the project towards the Summer 2014 dedication. If you are interested in learning more, volunteering or in giving to help meet the final project goal, follow this link:

Pennsylvania Gold Star Families Memorial – CMSgt Richard L. Etchberger Foundation

Also, we want to get the word out to family and friends, particularly to Gold Star Families – this Memorial honors their sacrifice and we want to make sure the word is spread far and wide. If you are on Facebook, please visit the Pennsylvania Gold Star Families Memorial page:

Pennsylvania Gold Start Families Memorial | Facebook

I am personally honored to be able to help with such a great cause. I am one of four siblings that served and I am thankful that we have all returned safely. No family seeks the Gold Star designation – it is an honor borne heavily  – but it should serve as a constant reminder that freedom is not free and of our responsibility to  those who endure the ultimate sacrifice.

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  1. Thank you for recognizing the up to now “invisible families” who have suffered enormously. I was deployed for my last year of service. During that deployment, I met Major Keiba Estelle whose husband, Major Raymond Estelle was one of nine military members and contractors who were gunned down in a briefing room at Kabul. There is a memorial to those nine at Fort Dix NJ. It had been six months since Keiba’s husband was KIA when I met her. Major Raymond Estelle left behind his wife, Keiba, his daughter, Shayla who was eight years old and his newborn son, Raymond who was five weeks old.

  2. Wes Pace says:

    My heart goes out to the parents that have sacrificed their sons and daughters. I am a kid from the Vietnam days. We were spit on for wearing the uniform in public. Thankful those day are over. Today our boys come home disfigure and for what. What was the goal? Our government is on a path on I do not know where or why. Rules and a police force of the world. Why? I am an old person and need some direction but what are we doing as a country. My bunk mate in Basic training died in Nam and for what I still do not understand. We need a clear direction what are we doing? What are we really doing? Please tell me. We need to recognize all of the GOLD STAR mothers for the sacrifice they have made!! Bless them all!!

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