WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was officially unveiled on Wednesday at Trinity Park in West Palm Beach.
The monument serves as a dedication point for those families who lost a loved one in active military service.
Karen Zook lost her son Ian in 2004. He was serving with the Marines.
"No one else understands the great loss and the tremendous grief that we carry and how we get through each day and month and year," said Zook. "So we feel safe amongst other Gold Star families."
Zook was one of more than a dozen Gold Star family members at Wednesday's unveiling, leaving roses at the new monument.
Ami Reece’s husband Michael died in 2001 while piloting an Apache helicopter.
"He would be proud, but maybe they would think it's too much for them," said Reece. "They loved their jobs, they loved their country, they were willing to make the sacrifice."
For months, Gold Star daughter Lauren Berkson, who lost her father in the Vietnam War, spearheaded this project.
For her, seeing Wednesday's ceremony was a special experience.
"To have a permanent reminder for people that freedom isn't free," said Berkson. "That we should be grateful for where we live and that a lot of good men and women sacrificed their lives so we could be here safely."
The dedications won't stop in West Palm Beach. Seven more cities in Palm Beach County are set to unveil Gold Star markers to honor these Gold Star families forever.