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Honoring Gold Star, Silver Star, and Blue Star Families

Gold star, silver star, blue star families

History of Gold Star Families: Sacrifice In Courage

 

The term "Gold Star Family" originated during World War I when families displayed service flags with blue stars representing their loved ones serving in the military. If a service member died, the blue star was replaced with a gold star, signifying their ultimate sacrifice. This allowed communities to recognize the immense loss suffered by these families.

 

In 1936, the U.S. Congress designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother's Day to honor mothers who lost sons or daughters in service. In 2011, President Barack Obama amended it to Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day, recognizing all immediate family members of fallen service members.

 

Recognition and Support

 

The U.S. government has established several ways to honor and support Gold Star Families:

 

  • Gold Star Lapel Button: Established in 1947, this special lapel pin can be worn by immediate family members of service members who died while serving.

  • Gold Star Spouses Day: Observed annually on April 5th to honor the spouses of fallen service members.

  • Gold Star Survivors Website: Provides information on benefits, resources, and support services available to Gold Star Families.

  • Memorial Website: The Department of Defense hosts an online memorial for service members who died on active duty since 1985, allowing families to submit names.

 

Many organizations, both government and non-profit, host events and provide services to support Gold Star Families, such as support groups, counseling, and youth mentorship programs.

 

While no one aspires to become a Gold Star Family, their sacrifice is deeply honored. Communities are encouraged to display the U.S. flag, wear the Gold Star lapel pin, and express gratitude to these families who have endured immense loss for our nation's freedom.

 

Silver Star Families: Sacrifices of Wounded Warriors

 

Silver Star Families refer to the loved ones of military service members who have been wounded, fallen ill, or suffered injuries during their service to the nation. These families have endured immense hardships and continue to provide unwavering support to their wounded warriors, embodying resilience and patriotism.

 

Origins and Recognition

 

The tradition of recognizing wounded service members dates back to World War I when families displayed banners with a blue star for each family member serving. If a service member was wounded or injured, the blue star was covered with silver threads, creating a "Silver Star" banner.

 

Although this practice faded after World War II, efforts were made to revive it. In 2004, Steve and Diana Newton founded the Silver Star Families of America (SSFOA), a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and supporting wounded, ill, and injured veterans of all military branches.

 

The SSFOA successfully petitioned states to designate May 1st as "Silver Star Service Banner Day," which has been officially recognized by Congress since 2010. This day serves as a reminder of the immense sacrifices made by these families and their loved ones.

 

Significance and Support

 

The Silver Star Service Banner represents the recognition of those who have been wounded, contracted serious illnesses, or sustained injuries in war zones, including conditions like PTSD. It symbolizes the ongoing struggles and challenges faced by these veterans and their families long after their service has ended.

 

Organizations like the SSFOA provide Silver Star Service Banners and certificates free of charge to eligible families, raising awareness of their sacrifices. They also offer support services, care packages, and a sense of community for these often overlooked heroes and their loved ones.

 

In a 2011 statement, President Barack Obama acknowledged the nation's "moral obligation and great honor to serve" these wounded warriors and their families, just as they served the country.

 

As conflicts continue to take a toll on service members, Silver Star Families remain a powerful symbol of resilience, love, and the enduring costs of defending freedom. Their unwavering support for their wounded loved ones deserves the utmost respect and gratitude from all Americans.

 

Blue Star Families: Supporting Military Families

 

Blue Star Families is a term used to refer to the immediate family members of active-duty service members in the United States military. This tradition dates back to World War I when families displayed banners with a blue star to represent a loved one serving in the armed forces.

 

Origins and Symbolism

 

The Blue Star Service Banner was designed in 1917 by Army Captain Robert L. Queissner, who had two sons serving on the front lines of World War I. The banner featured a blue star on a white background for each family member serving in the military.

 

In September 1917, an Ohio Congressman read into the Congressional Record: "The world should know of those who give so much for liberty. The dearest thing in all the world to a father and mother: their children." This solidified the Blue Star Service Banner as a symbol of pride and sacrifice for military families.

 

The number of blue stars on the banner corresponds to the number of individuals serving, with a maximum of five stars. Tragically, if a service member died, the blue star was replaced with a smaller golden star, leading to the term "Gold Star Family."

 

Recognition and Support

 

Over the years, various efforts have been made to honor and support Blue Star Families:

 

  • In 1936, the U.S. Congress designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother's Day to honor mothers who lost sons or daughters in service.

  • In 2011, President Barack Obama amended it to Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day, recognizing all immediate family members of fallen service members.

  • The Department of Defense authorizes the display of Blue Star Service Banners and lapel pins for immediate family members.

  • Organizations like the USO offer programs to support Blue Star Families, such as providing spaces for military spouses to connect and build community.

 

Blue Star Families often face unique challenges due to frequent relocations, deployments, and separations. To address these issues, the non-profit organization Blue Star Families was founded in 2009 by military spouses. Their mission is to empower and strengthen military families through various programs, research, and community-building initiatives.

 

As an all-volunteer force, the sacrifices of Blue Star Families are crucial to the readiness and well-being of U.S. service members. By recognizing and supporting these families, communities can express gratitude for their service and ensure they feel a sense of belonging wherever they go.


 

In closing, Gold Star Families, Silver Star Families, and Blue Star Families all represent the immense sacrifices made by America's military families. Gold Star Families have endured the ultimate loss of a loved one who paid the ultimate price while serving our nation. Silver Star Families display remarkable resilience as they support loved ones who have been wounded, ill or injured during their military service. And Blue Star Families embody pride, hope and strength as they keep the home fires burning while a family member is actively deployed.

 

From United Veteran Benefits Agency and all Americans, we owe a profound debt of gratitude to these patriotic families. Their courage, selflessness and perseverance allow our armed forces to remain strong and our nation's freedoms to endure. We must forever honor their sacrifices and provide our unwavering support to Gold Star, Silver Star and Blue Star Families.

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