ST. GEORGE — Citizens and St. George City officials attended a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning in Town Square, where they intend to build a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.
The monument, which will feature a void in the shape of a soldier saluting the flag, will be built before Veteran’s Day, said Mayor Michele Randall. During her speech to about 100 citizens, Randall became emotional while describing Sgt. Bryan Cooper Mount’s funeral procession.
“It was just so amazing to see people lined up along I-15 (Interstate 15) and Main Street to show their appreciation for Sgt. Mount,” she told St. George News.
Randall added that she and a committee were trying to figure out where to build the monument.
“I kept thinking about Town Square,” she said. “And then Mount’s mom, Bronwyn, said that he proposed to his wife right here. That settled it.”
Mount’s parents, Bryan and Bronwyn Mount, were present for the ceremony. Up to that point, Bronwyn said she had been stoic.
“But the empty space where a soldier should be got to me,” she said. “I never thought about it until now, but that’s exactly how it feels when there’s something missing.”
Her husband agreed.
“That absence really touched my mind and my soul,” Bryan Mount said. “Whether your children are in the military, or in an accident, or taken before their time …. You’re left with a hole in your heart.”
He added that the people who support those serving in the U.S. military feel that absence even while those serving are still alive.
“They need our support, too,” he said. “These are friends, wives, husbands, parents and children who are missing their loved ones. They’re waiting for them to come home. This monument is for them, too.”
Randall called upon Councilman Bryan Smethurst to help organize the event. Smethurst, who served in Afghanistan from 2012-13, said that he and his team had put in a considerable amount of time on various tasks.
“We went full-blast,” he said. “It’s amazing to see the support we’re getting today.”
After a pause, Smethurst said “they deserve more.”
“This really hits home,” he said. “I’ve got three brothers and a son who’ve served, and they were all lucky enough to come home. I’ve got three nephews and a niece who are serving now. We’re all praying they come home. There’s a lot more Gold Star Families in St. George than we realize.”
Valerie King, Color Country Chapter regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was on hand, too. She’d brought an oversized check in the amount of $1,600 for the cause. The Major Brent Taylor Foundation and the nonprofit Woody Williams Foundation are also helping to raise funds for the monument.
Still, Randall said the city of St. George is seeking donations to bring the $58,000 project to fruition. Those interested in donating may do so online.
Bronwyn Mount encouraged citizens to donate to the monument because “the fallen soldiers it commemorates had put themselves in harm’s way for us.”
“They volunteered to serve, to fight for the freedoms we enjoy,” she said.
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