America will pay respect Friday to the spouses and families of fallen members of the armed forces.
A resolution to designate Gold Star Wives Day was approved March 20 by the Senate in recognition of the sacrifices made by these spouses and family members.
The Senate resolution states the servicemembers and veterans “bear the burden of protecting the freedom of the people of the United States and … the sacrifices of the families of the fallen members and veterans of the armed forces of the United States should never be forgotten.”
At Redstone Arsenal, a by-invitation-only luncheon for Gold Star wives will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at The Summit. Kerrie Branson, the survivor outreach program coordinator at Army Community Service, is paying tribute to those spouses by inviting them to lunch to personally honor them.
On Friday’s Gold Star Wives Day, announcements are to be made over the loudspeakers at the Redstone Exchange and the Commissary to remind shoppers to thank Gold Star wives.
Branson can be reached at 876-5397 at ACS, building 3338 on Redeye Road.
Gold Star Wives Day was first celebrated Dec. 18, 2010, through a Senate resolution with support from the Gold Star Wives of America Inc., a nonprofit organization of about 10,000 members that provides services and support to the spouses of fallen servicemembers.
“Remembrance days like Gold Star Wives Day specifically honor the sacrifices of some of the individuals a fallen Soldier has left behind,” said Donna Engeman, Survivor Outreach Services program manager, Installation Management Command. “The sacrifices of a Gold Star wife reach beyond losing the person she considers a life partner – it is a loss of goals and expectations, it impacts her identity within the Army culture and completely changes the path of her future.
“The importance of Gold Star Wives Day is that it brings acknowledgement to and honors the many sacrifices of these incredibly courageous and resilient women,” she added.
The Department of Defense presents one of two lapel pins to Gold Star Family members. The pins are worn by the survivors to recognize their sacrifices and as a way for others to honor their family members’ military service.
The first pin is the Gold Star Lapel Pin, which was established by Congress in 1947 and is presented to spouses and family members of servicemembers killed in combat.
The second pin is the Next of Kin Lapel Pin, which is presented to immediate family members of servicemembers who die while serving outside of combat operations. This pin features a gold star on a gold background.
Editor’s note: This article was adapted from an Installation Management Command release.