FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) A Gold Star Families Monument was unveiled at the Veteran’s Day Ceremony held at Florence Veteran’s Park.
Gold Star Families are those related to soldiers who died while serving in the military. One Gold Star mother told News13 her own story.
Elaine Jennings Johnson said her son was killed in Iraq on November 2, 2003. His name was Darius T. Jennings, and he was a U.S Army Specialist.
Specialist Jennings was on a helicopter headed back to the U.S when he was killed.
“The chopper got into the air, and it was shot down. Sixteen soldiers were on there. Jennings was one of the 16 soldiers who lost his life,” Johnson said.
Jennings was 21-years-old when he died.
“It’s hard but you can’t every forget. You can’t let these soldiers these Veterans be forgotten, so it just fulfills my heart for me to keep going spreading his story reaching out to other Gold Star moms.”
The Gold Star Families Monument Committee prepared for the unveiling several months in advance. Chairman Eddie Collins said there were more than 90 donors who helped bring the idea to life.
“It came out even better than what we thought. Just to look at the crowd we had here, the weather we had. I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect,” Collins said.
The monument costs more than $50,000. It was created to show Gold Star families appreciation.
“The main thing is for the Gold Star Families knowing that there is something here forever to recognize them, the suffering, and the sacrifices they’ve given. They know that Florence does not forget their veterans or the families.”