Gold Star Father Reflects On Meaning Of Memorial Day

(Beaver Dam) A reminder about the true meaning of Memorial Day from someone who knows all too well. Andrew Johnson is one of the organizers with the Gold Star Memorial Trail, a two-mile walking and biking path between Mayville and the Horicon Marsh. The trail is named for Gold Star Families, those who have lost a loved-one in military combat. Johnson lost his son David in Afghanistan seven years ago.

Often times, people get Memorial Day and Veterans Day mixed up, but Johnson says there is a very significant difference. Memorial Day is about United States military that have been killed in the service to our country. Veterans Day is about remembering all soldiers, including those who are serving right now.

“They both are very important but they are distinctly different,” he says adding “Memorial Day is about soldiers who gave their all.”

“We don’t want you to forget because that is all we have, we only have a memory now,” Johnson explains, “We’re not going to see our sons, we’re not going to have grandchildren by them.”

He says for anyone who loses a child, the pain is excruciating and it’s “something I wish no one has to go through” adding that as a Gold Star Parent, “we just want you to remember our children.”

Johnson joined us on WBEV’s Community Comment on Friday to discuss the grand opening for the Gold Star Memorial Trail, which is this Saturday morning in Mayville. Festivities begin at 9am at Theiler Park. The dedication will begin at 10am with Army Chaplain Colonel Douglas Fleischfresser serving as the keynote speaker.

The ten-foot wide paved trail runs along County Highway TW and State Highway 28. The final phase of the project would bring the trail from Horicon to Beaver Dam.