Work Begins on Region’s First Gold Star Memorial

By the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, another monument to honor fallen U.S. soldiers will be up—this one in Lovettsville.

Crews this week began digging the foundation for Northern Virginia’s first Gold Star Memorial, which will be installed on a 27-acre property just south of Lovettsville owned by David Keuhner, the man behind the One Family Brewing proposal. The memorial is costing more than $50,000, which Keuhner raised from individual donations, beer sales and events throughout the last 14 months. It will be unveiled on Sept. 11.

Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments—organized by the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation—honor the mothers, fathers and families of America’s fallen soldiers. They are two-sided and are made of black granite. One side reads “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and Relatives who sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom.” The other side tells a story through four, 2,500-pound granite panels with the themes: Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice.

The Family panel depicts a family walking hand-in-hand. The Patriot features an image of American soldiers raising the flag in Iwo Jima Memorial. The Sacrifice panel shows pall bearers carrying a fallen soldier’s casket. And, specific to the Lovettsville memorial, the Homeland panel will feature an outline of Virginia with a star over Lovettsville.

The project in Lovettsville is being managed by Matt Simpson, the vice president of the Loudoun-based Amazing Outdoors contracting company. Luck Stone has donated rock to distribute around the memorial and Vulcan Materials Co. has donated the concrete for the base. Keuhner said those donations shaved up to $10,000 off the project.

Once the concrete is all poured in the coming weeks, it will be left to cure for 28 days and a 30-foot flagpole will be installed, where an American flag will be hoisted up and down each day. The granite panels will be installed just before an unveiling ceremony on Sept. 11. Keuhner said he’s flying in families of fallen soldiers from all across the nation for that ceremony.

“It’s all coming together, it’s exciting,” Keuhner said.

Keuhner, whose family has a combined nearly eight decades of military service, said the memorial in Lovettsville is fitting because Virginia ranks among the top 10 states with the most soldiers lost in combat since the start of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

At the moment, there are 60 Gold Star Memorials in 48 states, with 79 more in progress. Only one exists in the Washington, DC area—in Annapolis, MD near the Naval Academy. Aside from the memorial now underway in Lovettsville, another is being installed at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Virginia.

As for Keuhner’s One Family Brewery project, Keuhner said he would make a decision by the end of 2020 whether he will pursue an annexation into the Town of Lovettsville to obtain municipal water and sewer service or go the well and septic route.

For now, Keuhner is busy making and selling beer in partnership with Funk Brewing Co. in Emmaus, PA. The two just launched a West Coast style IPA called “The Fallen,” which is being distributed in Northern Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Each label on those beer cans features the names of more than 50 men and women who died in combat, or from suicide onset by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Keuhner and Funk Brewing plan to additionally distribute the beer in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Georgia in the next six months.

pszabo@loudounnow.com

The front of a Gold Star Memorial. [Hershel Woody Williams medal of Honor Foundation]
The back panels of a Gold Star Memorial. [Hershel Woody Williams medal of Honor Foundation]

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