Florida Gets Its 3rd Monument Honoring Gold Star Families

The third Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Florida will be dedicated on Wednesday.

"A Gold Star family member is someone who sacrificed a loved one fighting for our country in the armed forces."

Gold Star Daughter Lauren Berkson's father was killed while fighting for our freedom.

"Captain Joseph M. Berkson was killed in Vietnam. He was an Army Ranger...May 2, 1972. I was ten months old at the time."

She spearheaded the 13-by-7 foot structure in West Palm Beach.

"It's about education and it's about people understanding that freedom isn't free and we need to be grateful to live in the best country in the world."

There are already monuments standing in Tampa and Port St. Lucie, with ones in the works in several cities including Orlando and Gainesville. The structures are being erected with the help of the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation.

Woody is the only living Marine who received the honor during World War 2 and he'll be at the ceremony.

"The last Congressional Medal of Honor winner from Iwo Jima. He's 95 years old."

She says an Orlando resident will be on hand and speaking at the event as well.

"We have a Gold Star Sister who works hard on educating the community. She has children's books that she writes."

Elisa Camara is the sister of a fallen Marine and her "Patriot Pup" books have received the attention of Vice President Mike Pence.

Berkson has also been working with several municipalities for the placement of smaller plaques.

"Friends of Veterans is a local Palm Beach County 501(c)(3) that adopted Palm Beach County Gold Star Families and we are working them to place plaques and markers into different municipalities to acknowledge Gold Star families."

The Town of Lake Park has already dedicated it's Gold Star Memorial Marker, with North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Palm Beach dedicating theirs on Veterans Day weekend.

Boca Veterans Park will receive its granite plaque in October, while the Town of Jupiter will include Gold Star Families in its upcoming Veterans Memorial.

Berkson is currently working with the Villages of Tequesta and Wellington, as well as the cities of Riviera Beach and Belle Glade to place markers in those communities.

Wednesday's dedication ceremony for the monument begins at 11 a.m. at Trinity Park, 600 Chase Street (off Flagler Drive) West Palm Beach, with parking in the Phillips Point West garage.

Contributions will support construction of multiple Markers throughout Palm Beach County and the numerous programs and events surrounding the Memorial Monument and Markers.

Donations can be made to Friends of Veterans,Inc.

MEMO: PBC Gold Star Families

Friends of Veterans, Inc.

12690 Headwater Circle

Wellington, Florida 33414

Photo: Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation

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