Gold Star Mothers, Families Day honors survivors of fallen heroes

By Porsha AuzenneOctober 2, 2023

Gold Star Mothers, Families Day honors survivors of fallen heroes
A graphic created to accompany Fort Johnson's "Gold Star Mothers, Families Day honors survivors of fallen heroes" story published in the Sept. 25 Guardian issue. (U.S. Army graphic by Porsha Auzenne) (Photo Credit: Porsha Auzenne) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT JOHNSON, La. — Gold Star Families are a vital part of the nation’s military community and history. Spouses, children, siblings, parents, grandparents and others whose loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom should forever be honored. On Gold Star Mothers and Families Day, the country recognizes and stands by these survivors in a sacred obligation to support them to the fullest degree.

Though not observed as a federal holiday, the last Sunday in September is designated as Gold Star Mothers and Families Day. The day is a time to honor those mothers and Families who have lost a U.S. Armed Forces service member. Its origins can be traced back to World War I, when Families would display flags with a gold star to signify a service member dear to them was fighting in a war. As the Gold Star became a symbol of a loved one lost in combat, Gold Star Family became a term recognized nationally as surviving members of these fallen heroes.

In 1936, Congress officially recognized and observed Gold Star Mothers Day. In 2011, President Barack Obama officially proclaimed the day Gold Star Mothers and Families Day to include all family members of fallen service members.

This year, Gold Star Mothers and Families Day is observed Sept. 24. Gold Star Families wear symbols of honor to remember their fallen service member, which include the Gold Star lapel button and the Next of Kin lapel button. Each are provided by the Department of Defense or service department in remembrance of their service members who sacrificed their lives on behalf of a forever grateful nation.

“The Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day honors our Fallen Heroes. For the Families, it’s a day of remembrance and something that they cherish closely to their hearts,” said Kenneth Bates, Survivor Outreach Services Program Coordinator. “For them, it’s a day to focus on the memory of their loved ones. Together they get to reflect on the good times and comfort one another during the challenging times of remembering what was. Through a shared commonality of loving and supporting an Army fallen hero, together they survive the hardships of grief. They are their fallen hero’s survivor. We, the Survivor Outreach Service Program, and the Fort Johnson Army community, are beyond grateful for them and remind them that they too are not forgotten. That they will forever be a part of our community, and we thank them for the time and dedication their fallen hero gave to us.”

As the Army remains indebted to Gold Star Families, resources are available to help support survivors. SOS provides long-term support to surviving Families of fallen Soldiers with the goal to reassure survivors that they remain valued members of the Army Family. 

For more information on SOS, please visit and