INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hundreds of people came out to witness the unveiling of the Indiana Gold Star Families Memorial Monument Saturday afternoon, including the only living Medal of Honor recipient from World War 2.
The monument sits on the corner of North Pennsylvania Street and East St. Clair Street.
Brigitt Caito is a member of one of those Gold Star families. She never met her father, who was killed on Easter Sunday 1945 in Germany. She was born 4 months later.
Caito was the recipient of a special ‘Honor and Remember’ flag with her father’s name, Corporal Robert V. Reno, on the bottom.
“To see his name on that flag, that ‘Honor and Remember’ flag was more than I could have hoped for today,” Caito said.
The keynote speaker for the event was Woody Williams. He’s the only living World War II Medal of Honor recipient.
His foundation has helped dozens of of Gold Star memorials be erected around the country, but he believes Saturday may have had the biggest crowd of them all.
The first memorial was erected in his home state of West Virginia back in 2013.
“I felt we needed to do something to pay tribute and honor to them,” Williams said.
Indianapolis has the 80th Gold Star monument unveiled in eight years. It’s a project that was organized by Jill Fewell.
“It’s a gratifying day because it took a long, long time to get it done but I wasn’t going to give up because these families need this place to come and pay their respects,” Fewell said.
For Caito, after decades of silence for her family’s loss, the memorial serves as a tangible reminder in stone that things have changed, that a soldier’s death is no longer a taboo topic.
“Thank God for that. It’s wonderful that we can talk about it now,” she said. “Come and see. Stand quietly and think about it. If you know someone who has lost somebody, don’t be afraid to ask them to talk. Ask them to tell you their stories.”