Families who have lovingly supported their military members experience tragic loss when that family member dies. Gold Star Spouses Day was established to respect and acknowledge these wives and husbands who have lost their significant others during military service.
History of Gold Star Spouses Day
The term “Gold Star” for family members of military personnel has origins that can be traced back to the early 1900s during WWI. When a family sent a son, husband or father off to war, they would display a blue star in the window to represent each person from the family who was serving in the military. If a military family member’s life was lost, that blue star in the window was exchanged for a gold star. Thus, the terms including Gold Star Mother, Gold Star Wife, Gold Star Family and other related phrases, were put into use.
The Gold Star Wives of America organization was founded in 1945 when four young widows met in New York City. Not long after, Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady, joined the group and it grew from there. Since 1973, the tradition exists that when a military member dies, a military officer presents their next-of-kin with a Gold Star pin during the funeral.
Starting out with the name Gold Star Wives Day in 2010, this event was officially recognized that year by the United States Senate and was originally celebrated in December. Later, to become more inclusive of wives and husbands of military members who have lost their lives in service, the name was changed to Gold Star Spouses Day and the date was moved to the current one in early April.
How to Observe Gold Star Spouses Day
Show some support and appreciation for the sacrifice that military families have made as they live their lives without a husband or wife who was killed in service. Get involved with observing Gold Star Spouses Day through some of these ideas:
Thank a Gold Star Spouse
People inside and outside of the military can take time on this day to acknowledge and show appreciation to a wife or husband of someone who has died in military service to their country. Whether in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, service members and their families can be recognized on Gold Star Spouse Day for their ultimate sacrifice.
Attend a Gold Star Spouse Event
Many different military bases, veterans groups, and other support organizations may be hosting special events in honor of Gold Star Spouse Day. These might include remembrance ceremonies for those fallen service men and women, or some other type of commemoration service. This is also a good time for gold star family members to wear their gold star pins.
Make a Donation for Gold Star Spouses
Those who are interested in getting involved with Gold Star Spouse Day may want to show some support for the cause by making a donation. The Gold Star Wives of America uses its status as a non-profit organization to preserve and enhance the benefits provided to the surviving spouses and children of US military members.