A Gold Star Families Service of Remembrance takes place Sept. 28 in Clinton Township. At the service, families brought a candle and photo of their loved one. The walkway to the monument was lit with candles.

A Gold Star Families Service of Remembrance takes place Sept. 28 in Clinton Township. At the service, families brought a candle and photo of their loved one. The walkway to the monument was lit with candles.

Photo by Alex Szwarc


Remembrance service held at Gold Star Monument in Clinton Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published October 7, 2021

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — It’s a group that no one is invited to join. Instead, families become members upon the death of a loved one in the military.

A Gold Star Families remembrance service took place Sept. 28 at the Clinton Township Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.

The service occurred two day after Gold Star Families Remembrance Day, which is observed the last Sunday in September. The day is intended to recognize and honor those who have lost a family member in the service of the U.S. Armed Forces. A Gold Star Family includes the immediate family members of a fallen service member who died while serving in a time of conflict.

At the service, families brought a candle and photo of their loved one. The walkway to the monument was lit with candles.

Debbie Otte was at the service. Her son, Army Pfc. Christopher Kube, was killed in action in 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t finish his first tour,” Otte said. “He wanted to be a mechanic but was on the frontlines, driving vehicles. He was responsible for transporting higher-ups.”

Otte raised her five children in Shelby Township. Kube enlisted in 2005 and was killed at age 18.

“He was a gunner in the vehicle that particular day and was the only one exposed,” she said. “He was killed instantly.”

Otte said events like the service help keep the memory and honor of her son alive.

“I don’t want him to become just a name or rank,” she said. “I bring a military picture because he has a name but also has a face.”

The remembrance included the Pledge of Allegiance; a speech about reclaiming joy by Rev. Meg Wilson, of Hope United Church of Christ in Clinton Township; lighting of memorial candles; and a moment of silence.

Gold Star Families Memorial Monument Committee co-chairs Nick and Karen Straffon also attended the remembrance.

“We want to make sure we honor the Gold Star families that come,” Karen Straffon said. “This way, the families know that their loved ones and they are not forgotten.”

Karen Straffon said the idea is to have regular events and ceremonies at the monument, so long as it pertains to the mission of Gold Star families.

Gold Star Families Memorial Monument Committee member Barry Burnham said this was the first time a candlelight service was held at the monument.

The Gold Star Monument in Clinton Township was dedicated in June.

The black granite monument features two sides — one side bearing the words “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and relatives who sacrificed a loved one for our freedom,” and the other side featuring four granite panels with the words “Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice” inscribed.

It is located between the Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch and the Clinton Township Civic Center, east off Romeo Plank Road.

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