Setting The Stage

Gold Star Memorial Saturday At Veterans Park

The United Veterans Council of Jamestown held a Memorial Day service planting flags on veterans graves at Lake View Cemetery Thursday. A memorial service was held where the initial flag was planted inside Solider’s Circle. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice during their service in the United States military will be honored at Veterans Park in Jamestown this weekend.

The seventh annual Gold Star Memorial hosted by the Blue Star Mothers, New York Chapter 4, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the park, located along West Third and Logan streets.

As part of the annual remembrance during Memorial Day weekend, the Blue Star Mothers will recognize the memory of all 19 area residents who have made the ultimate sacrifice during their service in the military and honoring their Gold Star families.

Originally established in May 2013, the Gold Star Memorial serves as a visual remembrance of the fallen soldiers.

“Their sacrifices will never be forgotten by the whole community,” said Susan Rowley, Blue Star Mothers Chapter 4 president. “As a Blue Star Mother, we understand what it’s like to have a child deployed. Only in our worst nightmares do we understand what Gold Star Mothers have gone through. That is what we want to remember. Everything they have endured and their child’s sacrifice. That is the importance of the day.”

White balloons being released to remember fallen soldiers during the Gold Star Memorial ceremony last year. This year's ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Veterans Park, located along West Third and Logan streets in Jamestown. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

The keynote speaker will be Col. Charles Watkins, who has served for the past 27 years in the United States Marine Corps, both on active duty and in the reserves. Watkins earned his Naval Aviator wings in 1995 and was assigned as a UH-1N “Huey” pilot at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He currently serves as the deputy director, Aviation Command and Control Teams based in Great Lakes Naval Station, Ill. He lives in Ellicott with his wife, Leah (Johnson), and their three daughters.

As part of the new Veterans Memorial Park in Jamestown, the Blue Star Mothers have established a memorial display including a rock with a plaque honoring the fallen surrounded by annually flowering cherry trees in tribute to local fallen sons and daughters and as an honor to their Gold Star families.

State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello and Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi will be in attendance, Rowley said. A color guard, 21-gun salute and playing of Taps will be presented by local veterans organizations. The participation of the local Patriot Guard, solemn vocal and violin tributes and a bagpipe benediction will also be included in the program. Along with memorial wreathes, the release of a white balloon following the reading of each local fallen soldiers name will symbolize the community’s gratitude.

The public is invited to attend this ceremony. Seating will be limited, so those in attendance are invited to bring a chair. Since its inception during World War II, the national Blue Star Mothers organization has existed to provide support for active duty service personnel, to promote patriotism and to assist veterans’ organizations in the community.

The Gold Star designation recognizes a family who has lost a son or daughter in the service of the United States.

For those interested in knowing more about the mission of the Blue Star Mothers, email Rowley at bluestamothersny4@yahoo.com or call 499-6897.