Camp Shelby breaks ground for Gold Star Family memorial monument

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) — A new monument will honor those who died serving our country and their Gold Star families.

MS Chapter and Department President of Mississippi Gold Star Mothers Foundation says she gets chills when she thinks about the new monument being placed at Camp Shelby.

The monument will be placed outside of Camp Shelby’s Mississippi Armed Forces Museum so everyone can see who made the ultimate sacrifice, and know the families that carry on their names.

Governor Phil Bryant spoke on how important it is to remember those who fought for our freedom.

“Mississippi has a number of gold star families and we must honor them and this memorial will be here for generations to make sure we honor their sacrifices,” said Governor Bryant.

Eddie and Jenny Smith lost their son, Jason Rogers, a U.S. Marine Staff Sargent while serving in Afghanistan in 2011.

They say planning for this groundbreaking celebration began months ago with officials.

“We knew from the get go that this was the place to put it at Camp Shelby. We have a lot of traffic right here and I’m very happy that this will be the first one in Mississippi,” said Eddie Smith in regards to where the first monument would be placed in Mississippi.

Donna Bagwell is the chapter and department President for Mississippi Gold Star Mothers, Inc., but she wanted a monument that would honor everyone in the family.

“This monument includes the children and the families and it’s not just the moms it’s the dads and the siblings and the grandparents,” she said. “This is the one monument that I could get behind because it recognizes the whole family.”


This memorial will be the first of five in the state.

The Hershel Woody Williams Foundation is sponsoring these five monuments. Each one cost about $50,000. If you would like to donate to the help fund these monuments that not only represent families in the state but across the nation, visit their website.

The one here in the Pine Belt plans to be ready for show by January 2018.


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