Broad Ripple Garden Club President Phyllis Grzeskowiak had a good reason for wanting to see the organization’s Gold Star Families Memorial By-Way marker placed in Carmel.
“We probably have 10 members of our 30 members that live in Carmel, I being one of them,” Grzeskowiak said. “When we asked Carmel Mayor (Jim) Brainard, he welcomed us with open arms. We’re very happy to have it here.”
Gold Star families are families who have lost a loved one during active U.S. military service.
The Gold Star Families Memorial dedication ceremony was held Nov. 8 at the gazebo at Carmel City Hall, One Civic Square, where the marker will stand. It’s the second Gold Star Families Memorial in Indiana but the first to be dedicated. National Garden Clubs, Inc., sponsors the program with Gold Star Families.
“On behalf of the citizens of Carmel, Indiana, I humbly and respectfully accept this wonderful gift of a Gold Star marker, a marker that will forever be a source of acknowledgment, respect, and, hopefully, comfort for the many Gold Star families in Carmel,” Brainard said.
Brainard said it’s important for cities to provide public spaces to gather and unite for a common cause.
“With this new memorial, our beloved gazebo will become an additional space where the citizens of Carmel can contemplate the sacrifices of our service members and their families,” he said. “To all those who display the gold stars, let me assure you the City of Carmel cares for you, appreciates your sacrifice and honors the ultimate sacrifice made by your loved ones.”
Dr. Tim Hannon, a U.S. Navy veteran and Carmel city councilor, explained some history of Gold Star families.
“Since 9/11, more than 16,000 troops have died in noncombat circumstances, and more than 7,000 died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars,” Hannon said. “There are also thousands of living Gold Star Family members who lost loved ones in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and other conflicts throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. In the past few months, the number of Gold Star families increased with the deaths of troops in Afghanistan as well as closer to home.”
The Carmel VFW Post 10003 made a donation to help defray some of the cost, Grzeskowiak said.
The Broad Ripple Garden Club previously dedicated a Blue Star Memorial at the John W. Hensel Government Center on College Avenue in Carmel. Blue Star Families are families with a loved one in active military service.