Gold Star Mothers: Memorial to be unveiled Saturday
On Sept. 24, fallen soldiers and their mothers were honored nationwide on Gold Star Mother’s Day for their sacrifices.
In Cape Coral, a storm named Irma postponed that annual recognition despite a special nuance that was to have been added to the ceremony.
The observation will now be this Saturday at 2 p.m. at Four Mile Eco Cove Park along Veterans Boulevard and Cape Coral’s new American Gold Star Mother’s Memorial will be unveiled.
Capt. Pat McCarn and his wife, Nancy, said it took several years of fundraising through Wreaths Across America to get to this day, but it was a chance meeting at an event in 2011 that helped spur the momentum.
“We were invited to Maine to speak about what we do in Cape Coral for Wreaths Across America,” Pat said. “We happened to be sitting next to a Gold Star Mother and we learned a lot about them.”
“We didn’t know what that meant. We’re not military. We learned real fast and she placed a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier the previous year for Wreaths Across America,” Nancy said. “They still aren’t that well known out there.”
Nancy said afterward they would do something for those Gold Star Mothers and, for the next four years, monies raised for the wreaths went into the plaque
Wreaths Across America does fundraisers through Gold Star Mothers, which raised the nearly $7,000 it took to do the plaque, Pat said, who added the two organizations have formed a partnership.
A newly formed chapter of Gold Star Mothers opened in July in Lee County with about 15 members and most are expected to attend Saturday’s unveiling. Beth Haely is the chapter’s president.
Also expected there will be a pipe and drum corps, a special color guard representing four different color guards for the flag line, and Cape Coral’s newly elected mayor, Joe Coviello, along with guest speakers including Jack Wagner, commander of the local Order of the Purple Heart.
The memorial plaque is two feet by three feet in size, made of solid bronze and is the 34th such memorial in the nation. It features the traditional Gold Star and the chosen official image of the Gold Star Mothers National Monument statue of a mother grasping the dreaded Western Union telegram in her hand.
There is also a poem on the plaque that usually says “To a Mother’s Son,” but since some Gold Star Mothers have had daughters who passed away, the wording has been changed to “To A Mother’s Child,” a first for any such plaque.
“This means so much to these mothers, more than I ever thought. From talking to them, they are so excited about this,” Nancy said. “It’s their local connection to their child. I never realized how important it is for them.”