Orem City Council discusses adding Gold Star Families Monument
Mark Saal, Standard-Examiner file photo
Jennie Taylor, the wife of former North Ogden Mayor Maj. Brent Taylor who was killed in action in 2019, asked the Orem City Council Tuesday to consider establishing a Gold Star Families Monument in the city.
A Gold Star Families describes any immediate family member of a fallen service member who died while serving in a time of conflict.
There are a number of Gold Star families in Orem and Taylor hopes to put up a monument to the living families who have lost a loved one.
Through the Major Brent Taylor Foundation and other organizations and individuals, Taylor has been instrumental in putting monuments in Ogden, St. George, South Jordan, Sandy, Layton and Draper. Orem would be the first city in Utah County with such a monument.
The monuments are marble on a concrete pedestal, stand approximately 8 feet tall and include a life-size cutout of a soldier. Orem leadership is looking for the best place to put such a monument. Taylor requested that it go somewhere there is a lot of traffic.
Courtesy Orem City
Existing locations that were suggested include City Center Park, Nielsen’s Grove and the Cemetery field while Tom Macdonald, council member, mentioned the new Hillcrest Park. One option would be to put up the monument at the same time the new city hall building is completed, pairing it with the planned “Freedom Tree.”
“I would like it to be more central,” Taylor said. “I’d love it in a high traffic area as it is intended for the living.”
The cost to erect the monument is about $75,000 — the granite costs $55,000 and the concrete would be about $20,000.
Taylor said $20,000 would get the project started, and encouraged a community fundraiser.
“Surviving families will come from all over the state to see it,” Taylor said. “This is Family City USA that stands for patriotism, this should be one of the easiest things to find funding for.”
Taylor said she would like to personally be involved with the process as she and her husband started their family in Orem, having lived just a few blocks from the city center.
“We want to ignite patriotism through service,” Taylor added.
Taylor noted that every time one of the monuments goes up it leads to five or six more being discussed by other cities.
“I am passionate about this. The mayor and council could make this the best in the country,” Taylor said.
The American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. was started by 25 women in 1928. The group still exists today to honor their children, heal together and support veterans.
“The council is very excited about it,” Council member Terry Peterson said.