Memorial Marker Revealed To Honor Gold Star Families

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
An estimated 150 people attended the dedication of a Gold Star Families Memorial Marker at Drake Harbor on October 5. The Stepping Stones Garden Club voted to obtain, install and dedicate the marker. Members worked alongside the American Legion (AML) Post 217 (including the AML Auxiliary, AML Riders and Sons of the AML); plus the Warsaw Leathernecks MCL Det. 1254 and the City of Warsaw to plan and participate in the ceremony. Two area Gold Star Families spoke about their attendance at the dedication and their wish to pay respects to family members who died in combat during World War II. The large gathering provided an atmosphere of warm support for family members and grateful remembrance of those who “paid the ultimate price for our freedom.”
Wilma Austin, 88, from Clinton, and a Gold Star family member, attended the dedication to pay her respects on behalf of her oldest brother, Harold Miller, who was killed in 1944 at the Battle of the Bulge. Mrs. Austin was only 13 at the time of his death. He was a Staff Sergeant in the Army Engineers, and one of the ten children of Claude and Nora Miller. Sgt. Miller was buried in the small country of Luxembourg. Three brothers from the family, all from Warsaw, Missouri, served in the military during World War II.
Mike Carr, of Warsaw, participated in the dedication, and he and his brother David Carr are also part of a Gold Star Family. Their uncle, Marvin H. Klotz, from Chapel Hill, Missouri, was killed in action on September 27, 1944 near Florence, Italy. He was a Private First Class and an Army Combat Engineer with two Purple Heart medals. He is buried in Italy.
The Dedication Ceremony took place on a beautiful, cool morning on the lawn next to the Harbor. Formal military protocol was followed beginning with the Call to Order by the AML Honor Guard and bugler. There was a presentation of colors, retirement of colors, pledge of allegiance, singing of the Star Spangled Banner, a rifle volley and TAPS, with a lot of standing, hands on hearts and salutes. There were also prayers, speeches, and other agenda formalities. The occasion was solemn and respectful, except for a lighthearted moment when the Boy Scout Troop 34 presented the colors. The youth did a beautiful job of marching with flags, but had to be reminded by the drill master to “right face” (as opposed to left or front) a couple of times. There was an invocation, benediction, pledge of allegiance, singing of The Star Spangled Banner, a rifle volley before the ceremony ended with TAPS.