Memorial Park for Gold Star Families

memorial park

The park is a recreational outdoor gem frequented by hundreds of Houstonians and visitors daily. It is also one of the largest city parks in America.

The Memorial Park Master Plan addresses contemporary demands on this major urban park while safeguarding its qualities as a major urban wilderness that Houstonians value. It consolidates similar and compatible programs for a more logical and understandable flow of park visitors.

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War, which took place between 1954 and 1975, was the most divisive war in American history. This was America’s first television war, and images of dead soldiers, prisoners held in North Vietnam and peaceful antiwar protests made headlines.

During President Dwight Eisenhower’s administration (1953-1961), financial aid was provided to pay for South Vietnamese military forces, and American advisors were sent to help them train. At that time, there was considerable concern about the spread of communism in Southeast Asia.

Today, visitors to The Wall encounter more than 58,000 names etched into black granite. Those who were Missing in Action have a symbol added to their name that represents their fate; those whose remains were recovered are marked with an “+” sign. VVMF also works with the National Park Service to conduct ceremonies on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, to maintain an archive of those who died in the Vietnam War, and to continue to add names as new information becomes available.

Submariners Monument

The submariner’s ability to carry out silent, deep-sea operations has earned them a place in history. Many submariners were lost in the course of their missions, but those who survived have a long tradition of memorializing those that never came home. Whether in stately monolith, heroic statuary, or graven tablet, submariners have been honored in a variety of ways.

The design for this memorial was based on the inside walls of a submarine. Its architecture resembles the submarine’s bulkheads, and it even has the characteristic limber holes.

The submarine memorial also features an evocative watertight door. It is etched with the names of 52 submarines that were lost during World War II. In addition, visitors can pay their respects to submariners by laying wreaths on the circular base of the monument. A major restoration campaign took place in 2015 and 2016 to stabilize the structure. This involved a team of conservators from various historic restoration and coating firms.

Gold Star Monument

For families who have lost a loved one while serving in the armed forces, a new monument honors their loss and stands as a reminder that freedom is not free. The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is the first of its kind in Louisiana, and was unveiled during a dedication ceremony at White Haven Memorial Park on Saturday. The event included remarks by Gov. John Bel Edwards, a performance by the 156th United States Army Band from Bossier City, tribute wreath placements by various veteran service organizations and the unveiling of the memorial.

The stunning black granite monument has two sides, and the engraved words: “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument – A tribute to Mothers, Fathers, Family Members and Relatives who sacrificed a Loved One for Our Freedom.” The other side tells a story through four granite panels of Homeland, Family, Patriot and Sacrifice.

For Stamford resident Frank DeMasi, the monument brought back memories of his brother. He was just 4 when he saw his brother, a soldier killed at Pearl Harbor, and he says his loss has never left him.

Peace Statue

The first thing visitors see as they enter the memorial park is a quotation from Martin Luther King Jr. placed along a wooden-slat wall: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” This framing introduces EJI’s overall social activist and reparative justice mission.

The memorial park continues through a journey that stretches from slavery to lynching and racial terror, with text, narratives, and monuments for the victims of these tragedies. Visitors are confronted with the difficult texts that identify awful justifications for lynching such as interracial relations, speaking out against lynching, or not showing deference to whites.

The second monument, a statue of “Peace,” looms over the memorial park. While WGCW and Korea Verband installed and framed the statue within a particular paradigm, once it was on German soil it started to acquire a new meaning of its own. The statue became a symbol for the anti-nationalist women of the Korean diaspora and inaugurated a discussion about cross-origin identification, belonging, and politics in postmigrant Germany.

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