Less than a year after breaking ground, the first Gold Star Memorial in Minnesota has been erected on the grounds of the Dodge County Government Services Building in Mantorville.
The memorial is black marble and stands about seven feet tall and is about 15 feet wide. The silhouette of a soldier cut out of the marble appears to be saluting the American flag in front of the Government Services Building. There are benches built into the monument for those visiting to rest and contemplate the touching tribute to the families of those who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. armed forces.
The Gold Star tradition started more than a century ago during World War I. At that time, families with members serving in the military displayed a blue star at their homes or businesses. If the family member serving died, the blue star was changed to gold.
The idea for Gold Star monuments came later as another way to honor Gold Star families.
Dodge County donated the ground where the monument stands.
Funds to build the monument were raised through the efforts of a committee of people from southeastern Minnesota through the Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams Medal of Honor Foundation of Kentucky in conjunction with the CPL Curtis M. Swenson Memorial Fund.
Marine Lance CPL Swenson, aged 20, died April 2, 2010, while serving in Afghanistan. He had graduated from Mayo High School in 2007.The dedication for the memorial is scheduled for 1 p.m. June 25 at the site of the memorial at 721 Main St., Mantorville.