Gold Star Mother’s Day is observed on the last Sunday in September which will be Sunday, September 24, 2017 this year. Gold Star Mother’s Day is intended to recognize and honor those mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service of the U.S. Armed Forces. Each there are events and meetings to publicly express love, sorrow and reverence toward Gold Star Mothers and their families. Flags are also mandated to be displayed on government buildings on this day. Army.mil says Gold Star Mother’s Day is intended “to recognize and honor those who have lost a son or daughter in the service of the U.S. Armed Forces”.
Why The Gold Star?
The Gold Star is a symbol of a loved one lost in combat.
According to an L.A. Times article, “During World War I, a practice developed across the country: Families displayed flags featuring a blue star, a sign that a family member was fighting in the war. Some flags would display more than one star.”
The exact origins of this tradition are not fully known, but at some point, gold star flags would go up to signify the family member had died on duty. The term “Gold Star Family” went into the national vocabulary thanks to the sacrifices of men and women serving in uniform.
Who Are The American Gold Star Mothers?
Based on the above, this might seem like an obvious question to some, but Gold Star families have had a non-profit organization working on their behalf since 1928 with the establishment of an organization called American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
Their mission includes education, remembrance, inspiring “true allegiance to the United States of America”, and most importantly for many, offering “needful assistance to all Gold Star Mothers and, when possible, to their descendants”.
The Gold Star Mother’s non-profit organization holds an annual convention and have events centered around Gold Star Mother’s Day and Veterans Day. They also partner with Wreath’s Across America where each December they work together to coordinate wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,200 locations in the U.S. and abroad.
The Gold Star Manor
Located in Long Beach, CA on a 23 acre, park like setting, The Gold Star Manor provides a home for members of the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. Features include several apartment buildings plus a library, therapeutic pool, arts and crafts building and many outdoor activities.
The National Gold Star Family Registry
The National Gold Star Family Registry is a program which honors those who have laid down their lives for freedom during all of America’s past conflicts. The use of a name “Gold Star Family” is commonly used to describe a family whose immediate family member was killed in action.
Is Gold Star Mother’s Day An Official Holiday?
Gold Star Mother’s Day isn’t observed in quite the same manner as federal holidays such as Labor Day, Memorial Day, or President’s Day, but that does not mean it hasn’t been given official recognition.
In 1936, the 74th Congress declared, “the last Sunday in September shall hereafter be designated and known as ‘Gold Star Mother’s Day,’ and it shall be the duty of the President to request its observance as provided for in this resolution.”
In 2016, President Barack Obama’s proclaimed that September 25, 2016 was to be known as Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day, a continuation of this long-standing tradition; “I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this special day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation’s gratitude and respect for our Gold Star Mothers and Families.”