Presidio hosts Gold Star luncheon
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Gold Star Families pose with Presidio of Monterey leaders after the Presidio's Gold Star luncheon here Sept. 28.

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Every year the fourth Sunday of September is for honoring mothers whose sons or daughters died in the line of duty. This year, in recognition of the Gold Star designation, Presidio of Monterey leaders hosted a luncheon for local Gold Star Families here Sept. 28.

Each family was escorted during the luncheon by a Presidio leader, which included Col. Joel J. Clark and Command Sgt. Maj. Olga Martinez, Presidio of Monterey Garrison commander and command sergeant major, and Col. Danial D. Pick and Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Pendergast, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center commandant and command sergeant major.

The luncheon provided the four families the opportunity to not only share stories, but to also address concerns and share solutions with each other, Presidio leaders and Army Community Service representatives.

What is it?

The Gold Star name references the single gold star on service flags displayed in the windows of homes that have lost a son or daughter to war.

The Gold Star tradition has been in our country for nearly a century as a reminder of the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in the service of their nation.

During World War I, flags were displayed in homes, businesses, schools and churches bearing a blue star for each military service member serving in harm's way, according to the Army's Stand-To! website. A gold star was stitched over the blue one when one of the members of the military had given their life for their country. From this simple expression of community solidarity, the Gold Star Mothers--an organization comprised of mothers who have lost a son or daughter in war--was born.

Although mothers of fallen service members began calling themselves "Gold Star Mothers" during the First World War, the sorrowful bond they share reaches back to every woman who has lost a son or daughter in uniform since the nation's revolution. According to the website, "The Army cherishes the mothers of its Soldiers as bedrocks of support and comfort, and honors the mothers of its fallen as resilient legacies of their children's service."
The United States began observing Gold Star Mothers Day on the last Sunday of September in 1936.

What's the way ahead?

The website points out that being a Gold Star Mother is a distinction no mother wants, but their commitment, courage and constant vigil ensure that the sacrifice of a mother's child is never forgotten. These women are an inspiration to all Americans because they exemplify courage, grace and fortitude in the face of incalculable sorrow.

The Army is dedicated to providing long-term support throughout the grief process. The Army's Survivor Outreach Services deliver a coordinated, comprehensive and standardized program across the force that meets survivors' needs with dedicated resources and a commitment to first-class service for as long as the family desires.

Why is this important to the Army?

Like the Army, Gold Star Mothers carry on, the website says. They are, and always will be, members of our great Army family. The Army, along with our nation, recognizes their courage, and maintain our commitment to support them while honoring the legacy of the fallen--our Soldiers, their children.

(Information provided by the Stand-To! website and Army News Service.)

Page last updated Fri October 5th, 2012 at 00:00