Gold Star Ceremony
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Soldiers raise the Gold Star Service Flag at the command’s Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, headquarters on May 27, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Ayumi Davis) (Photo Credit: Ayumi Davis) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command held a ceremony honoring families of fallen Soldiers on May 27.

The command raised a Gold Star Service Flag in front of USASMDC headquarters on Redstone Arsenal in front of Gold Star Families and members of USASMDC.

Gold Star Families are those who lost loved ones who died while in service to the nation. The term Gold Star comes from World War I. Families displayed blue banners with a blue star for every immediate family member who was serving in the armed forces. If the service member died, a gold star would be stitched over the blue star.

One Gold Star Family, the Hogans, participated in the ceremony, walking with the color guard to the flag pole. Savannah Hogan is the spouse of Spc. Bradley A. Hogan, who died while serving with the 16th Brigade’s 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, July 19, 2019.

Hogan and her son, Emmett, walked with the color guard to the flagpole to raise the Gold Star Service Flag. Her daughter, Arlynn, was also present for the ceremony.

Hogan said she was excited for the opportunity for her young children to participate in their first Gold Star event.

“It makes me feel like we’re honoring him in a good way, and it’s a way the kids get to be active doing something instead of us just talking about him,” Hogan said. “I feel like it also makes great memories for her [Arlynn] growing up, seeing that she’s gotten to honor her daddy since she was very little.”

Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, USASMDC commanding general, spoke at the ceremony, thanking the Gold Star Families for attending.

“It is our distinct privilege to be here with you this morning to help recognize the sacrifice of your loved ones, “Karbler said. “Nobody understands more than our Gold Star Families what it means to serve our nation, what it means to provide selfless service and giving the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.”

“We will always remember what their sacrifice is about. In the Army, we always take care of each other. So for this morning’s ceremony, this is just one small manifestation of how the Army takes care of its own,” Karbler said.

The families laid a yellow rose as the base of the flagpole in honor of their loved one at the end of the ceremony. The Gold Star Service Flag will fly throughout Memorial Day weekend.

Events like the Gold Star ceremony are a benefit to everyone, said Annette Hall, president of the North Alabama Chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, and mother of Staff Sgt. Jeffrey A. Hall, who died in Afghanistan while serving with the 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment.

“They are an opportunity to educate the public as to the meaning of a Gold Star Family, as well as draw attention to the fact that these fallen warriors are someone’s son, daughter, spouse or parent,” Hall said. “I carry great pride in my heart for the sacrifice my son personally made.”

Anything that helps Gold Star Families remember their loved ones is appreciated, said Robert “Bob” Boland, another attendee and father of U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Zachary R. Boland, who died while going through training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina, Nov. 4, 2016.

“Most of them [Gold Star events] have been very positive and the interaction with other Gold Star Families has been really positive, as well. You’re not unique in that you’re around others who all have stories. It really doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that everyone has a shared sense of loss despite the specific circumstances,” said Boland.