By JASON CUTSHAW
SMDC/ARSTRAT Public Affairs
The Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command honored families who lost loved ones with a ceremony before Memorial Day.
Members of SMDC/ARSTRAT gathered with Gold Star families as the command raised a Gold Star service flag for the first time on Redstone Arsenal during a ceremony at the command’s headquarters Thursday.
“We want to welcome our Gold Star families,” SMDC Commander Lt. Gen. David Mann said. “This is a very special event and I am also very thankful that we are able to officially fly this Gold Star service flag. The Gold Star flag represents service members who gave their last full measure of service for our country and for the liberties and freedoms we so richly enjoy.
“History is replete with the sacrifices of the few on behalf of the many, and that is exactly what this flag represents. It represents the surviving family members and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. We want to make sure that the family members of our fallen heroes know that you will always be a part of our family and we will never forget your loved ones.”
The blue and gold star banner tradition began in World War I when white service flags bordered in red were displayed from homes, businesses, schools and churches to indicate, by the use of a blue star, each active service member in the U.S. military. A gold star indicated those who had given their lives for their country.
In December, Brad Carson, acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, approved the Gold Star service flag to be flown under the American flag during significant observances, such as Memorial Day.
“A ceremony like this means the world,” Krystal Chaney, widow of fallen Soldier Spc. Cole J. Chaney who died in 2008, said. “It can be very difficult explaining to people what a Gold Star means. I want to thank SMDC for educating the military and civilian community of what it means to be a Gold Star family.”