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Honoring Gold Star Families

Sep 10 2020
The Intelligencer

The Mountain State is home to some of the most patriotic Americans and as a result many West Virginians are called to serve our country resulting in one of the highest rates of military service in the nation. For the past six years I’ve participated in the Ride for Fallen Service Heroes to support the families of our fallen service members and the establishment of a new Gold Star monument here in West Virginia.

This year, we must adapt to COVID-19 regulations as we honor and remember the thousands we lost on September 11, 2001, the service members and their families whose lives were forever changed after that day, and the brave patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation.

Although we won’t be able to ride together as we have in years past we will still honor the fallen and those who continue to serve. I will pay my respects alongside West Virginia’s own Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel “Woody” Williams at the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veteran’s Cemetery in Institute.

Woody and I will lay a wreath at the Gold Star Monument at 9:37 a.m. Friday, to pay our respects to those lost when the Pentagon was attacked and will then ride to remember our fallen service members. I invite you to pay homage to those we lost on September 11, 2001 and all our fallen service heroes by safely visiting a Gold Star memorial or other veterans memorial in the state. If you do visit a monument, post a photo using the hashtag #WVGoldStarFamilies or sending an email to to show that through tragedy and loss we are always West Virginia Strong. Nearly 20 years later, we continue to mourn the loss of 2,977 innocent American lives and the lives of the many Americans who gave their lives in defense of our nation and our ideals since that dreadful day.

Every day I am grateful for our military members and first responders. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, we all grieved and mourned the tragic loss, but we also found national resolve, strength, and grit as we recovered together. Gayle and I are forever grateful to all of those who have served and continue to serve our great nation.

On Friday, please join me in honoring those who died on September 11 and all of our fallen service heroes by safely visiting a Gold Star memorial or any veterans memorial near you. There are so many beautiful veterans memorials in the Northern Panhandle where West Virginians can pay their respects, including the Gold Star Monument at the Veterans Amphitheater at Heritage Port in Wheeling and many others. We must never forget the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans every day and in times of great need.