• Raquel Scates, Taryn Davis, Ana Perez and Karen Riecke look over their contact lists on their phones and compare notes to determine who was en route to the casual lunch, April 5, 2013, at the Survivor Outreach Services' Hall of Remembrance on Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Friends and Gold Star Wives gathered together during the second annual Gold Star Wives Day.

    Friends

    Raquel Scates, Taryn Davis, Ana Perez and Karen Riecke look over their contact lists on their phones and compare notes to determine who was en route to the casual lunch, April 5, 2013, at the Survivor Outreach Services' Hall of Remembrance on Fort Sam...

  • Maj. Gen. Adolph McQueen Jr., deputy commanding general for support, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), thanks Gold Star Wives Meka Durham (center) and Charmaine McMillen (right) for their sacrifice during the casual lunch, April 5, 2013, at the Survivor Outreach Services' Hall of Remembrance on Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Friends and Gold Star Wives gathered together during the second annual Gold Star Wives Day.

    McQueen

    Maj. Gen. Adolph McQueen Jr., deputy commanding general for support, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), thanks Gold Star Wives Meka Durham (center) and Charmaine McMillen (right) for their sacrifice during the casual lunch, April 5, 2013, at the Survivor...

  • Maj. Gen. Adolph McQueen Jr., deputy commanding general for support, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), talks with Corey Hill, the 6-year-old son of Katherine Kirby, a Gold Star Wife, during the casual lunch, April 5, 2013, at the Survivor Outreach Services' Hall of Remembrance on Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Friends and Gold Star Wives gathered together during the second annual Gold Star Wives Day.

    Hill

    Maj. Gen. Adolph McQueen Jr., deputy commanding general for support, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), talks with Corey Hill, the 6-year-old son of Katherine Kirby, a Gold Star Wife, during the casual lunch, April 5, 2013, at the Survivor Outreach...

  • Kimberly Rairdan (standing), president Alamo Area Chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, presents a white rose to Stephanie Crotty, a Gold Star Wife. Rairdan presented a rose to each of the Gold Star Wives in attendance during the casual lunch, April 5, 2013, at the Survivor Outreach Services' Hall of Remembrance on Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Friends and Gold Star Wives gathered together during the second annual Gold Star Wives Day.

    Mother

    Kimberly Rairdan (standing), president Alamo Area Chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, presents a white rose to Stephanie Crotty, a Gold Star Wife. Rairdan presented a rose to each of the Gold Star Wives in attendance during the casual lunch, April...

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (April 8, 2013) -- More than 20 survivors, who lost their spouses, gathered April 5 at the Survivor Outreach Services Hall of Remembrance to mark the second annual Gold Star Wives Day.

The survivors who live in the Fort Sam Houston community made the day about each other, opting for a casual lunch and quiet conversation as opposed to a ceremony.

In the past, the Gold Star Wives would generally have functions with the members of the Gold Star Mothers organization. The event was specifically set up for the wives, said James Stokes, survivor outreach services coordinator, adding that he often sees that a mother of a fallen service member wants to remember differently than a spouse of a fallen service member.

"It's just a different dynamic," said Stokes.

"Gold Star Wives Day is a day of recognition for individuals who have lost their loved ones, their spouses, while in the service to their nation" said, Marlene Nash, Community and Family Support officer for the Army Support Activity, Fort Sam Houston.

Maj. Gen. Adolph McQueen, deputy commanding general for U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), who attended the luncheon, spoke with the wives and listened to their stories.

"I don't look at it as a day to have a pity party, but a day to get together, to talk and to bond," said Raquel Scates, a Gold Star Wife.

Karen Riecke, also a Gold Star Wife, spoke of how the bonding is important to each of them.

"We celebrate each other, and knowing we have each other to count on not just to help us through the bad times but to celebrate the good times as well," she said.

McQueen chatted with many of the survivors over pizza and salads. He asked about their lives and thanked them for their sacrifice.

"Honoring and thanking these survivors is the least we can do for those who have lost someone so special to them," he said.

Page last updated Mon April 8th, 2013 at 00:00