COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Gold Star families from across the nation traveled to the Global War on Terrorism Memorial at the National Infantry Museum to honor their loved ones.
Captain Timothy Shaun Anderson and Sergeant First Class Dustin Bruce Ard are just a few of the names of fallen soldiers recognized at the 2020 global war on terrorism memorial re-dedication.
Since 2017, the memorial is rededicated each year on the Saturday after Labor Day to honor fallen service men and women. The 2020 ceremony saw 15 names added. One being Ian McLaughlin. His wife traveled 6 hours from Fort Bragg, North Carolina with their three children to be at the re-dedication ceremony and see his memorial.
“He was my best friend. The best thing that ever happened to me. We have three small children. I have a 3, 2 and he is now 1. 1 year old. He met Ian for about 8 days before he left and then we lost him in January of this year,” said Tarrah McLaughlin.
McLaughlin said she takes comfort in knowing that her and her children are not alone.
Saturday’s re-dedication was a first for families who have loved ones who passed away prior to 2020 as well. Kevin Graves' son Joey was just 21 when he was killed in an ambush attack in 2006. His father said he is happy to know his son is being remembered.
“Knowing that for the last two years, people have been honoring my son and knowing that his name was in the first group to go up on the memorial walls, even though we didn’t know about it. It makes you feel very honored and it makes you feel like other people are honoring your kids,” said Graves.
Graves was also a 2020 Gold Star speaker at a dinner for families. He says he gets his healing through helping others heal.
Although the National Infantry Museum is temporarily closed, guests can still visit the Global War on Terrorism Memorial because it is outdoors. They are also welcome to visit other memorials outside the campus.