The Gold Star Lapel pins
An act of Congress established the gold star lapel pin (left) for issue to immediate family members of service members killed in combat. The next-of- kin pin (right) signifies a service-related death or suicide during active duty other than combat.

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas--America will pay respect April 5 to the spouses and families of fallen members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

A resolution to designate Gold Star Wives Day was approved March 20 by the U.S. Senate in recognition of the sacrifices made by these spouses and family members.

The Senate resolution states the military service members 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."

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 service members.

"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, U.S. Army 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 pay tribute to them.

The first pin is the Gold Star Lapel Pin, which was established by Congress in 1947 and is presented spouses and family members of service members killed in combat.

The second pin is the Next of Kin Lapel Pin, which is presented to immediate family members of service members who die while serving outside of combat operations. This pin features a gold star on a gold background.

Page last updated Thu March 28th, 2013 at 00:00