I Am The American Legion - Hershel 'Woody' Williams

At an American Legion post presentation in Parkersburg, W.Va., Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams asked Gold Star Mothers to raise their hands. He then thanked them, paying tribute to the 10 women for their sacrifice.

Afterward, a teary-eyed man lingered behind and approached Williams. “I said, ‘Sir, is there something I can do? Is there some way I can help you?’” Williams recalls. “He said, ‘Dads cry too.’”

The man, a widower, had recently lost his only child in the war in Afghanistan.

“We talked for quite some time,” Williams says. “I thought, ‘We’ve got to focus on the family rather than just the mother. We know mothers suffer more than anybody else. They grieve more than anybody else. But the whole family grieves if somebody is lost.”

That encounter gave Williams a new mission: honoring families of the fallen by establishing a Gold Star Memorial in every state. So far, six have been constructed and more are planned.

Learn more about the initiative online at www.hwwmohfoundation.org.  

Branch of Service
Marine Corps (1943-1945),
Marine Corps Reserve
(1948-1949, 1954-1969)


Rank Chief warrant officer 4

PostPost 177, Barboursville, W.Va.

Years in the Legion 65

Legion Activities

  • Boys State speaker (2000-present)