Local military widows to be honored at Chattanooga National Ceme - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local military widows to be honored at Chattanooga National Cemetery

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Local military widows have been working for more than a year to get a monument dedicated at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.

On Saturday, April 11th at 11 a.m., a ceremony will unveil their hard work to the community, in hopes of letting people know who the Gold Star Wives are.

"We didn't choose to be a Gold Star Wife, it was not our intentions," said Gold Star Wife Flora Kernea, "We wanted our husbands with us throughout our life, until we walked together as we got old."

Gold Star Wives share a common heartbreak. Their husbands died while serving their country, either in the line of duty or by injury or illness as a result of their military service.
    
Flora Kernea, 79,  lost her husband during World War II.

"I think if he could see us, he would be very proud," Flora said.

Donald Kernea was injured in the South Pacific during WWII and died from his injuries shortly after coming home from war.

"He was sick a long time," Flora said, "And he looked at me and said I don't want to go, I don't want to leave you and the children."

Flora now dedicates her life to helping other Gold Star Wives. She is the president of the local chapter serving Southern Tennessee, North Georgia and Northern Alabama.
    
And soon, all of the wives will all be honored at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, along with their husbands who served.

"If they are lonely and they want some place to go, they can go look at our monument," said Flora.
    
The monument honors military widows of the past, present and future. The Gold Star Wives came up with a design and scripture, and it was approved by leaders at the Chattanooga National Cemetery and in Washington. It sits beneath the flags in the Circle of Honor.
    
Flora says she is sure if her soldier was here to see it -- he'd say job well done.

"When it's unveiled, as I told them," Flora said, "I can step back and say, "mission accomplished."

When the monument is unveiled Saturday it will be the first time the Gold Star wives will get to see the finished product.

Again, the dedication ceremony will be Saturday, April 11 at 11 a.m. at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.

To learn more about the local Magnolia Chapter of the Gold Star Wives, click here.
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