Gold Stars

When I walk my dog through my neighborhood, I can feel my heart drop to the pit of my stomach. I come across a small house that has seen better days.  There’s a newer Sport Utility Vehicle parked in the driveway. It’s the customized license plate that always gets me: Gold Star Family. There but for the grace of God, go I.

The Gold Star was approved in 1918 by Woodrow Wilson as an emblem which represented a family member who was killed in combat. It was mounted on a black armband. Later on, the symbol was also used on banners which had a blue star for a deployed service member or a gold star for those who would never come home, those killed in action. During the Great Wars of the 20th Century, there wasn’t a community in the United States unfamiliar with this symbol. Luckily, because of the relatively small size of the military and its capability, most of America is unfamiliar with the Gold Star.

What does this is all mean? To be honest, I’m not sure. What should you do when you come across a Gold Star family member? From my experience with Gold Star family members, they may be willing to share their story. If I could ask one thing, it would be that every time you see a Gold Star, remember that those casualties in the newspapers and on the internet aren’t simply names that will become statistics. Those who never came home aren’t measurements to gauge the success of a war. Those men and women were, and are, much more than that. They were family.

For more information on Gold Star Mothers and other Gold Star Organizations, see the links below.

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7 thoughts on “Gold Stars

  1. Rhonda Beattie says:

    As a Gold Star Mother, I know only to well that their are many families that grieve today for the loss of a loved one, but also hold my head high for the sacrifice that my son so freely gave so that not just his family but you to can live in the LAND OF THE FREE

  2. Pat Collins Miller says:

    Thank you for your post.,,and thank you for your service, I wanted to mention another GS organization, of which I am a member,,, Gold Star Wives, It was chartered by Congress in 1945 after WWII left so many widows. I am the widow of SGT DJ Miller who served with the 1st Air CAV in RVN 1967-68,,,back in the day when they were airmobile 11Bravo’s…whose death in 2008 is service-connected due to a combat disease…exposure to Agent Orange and major complications of diabetes.

  3. […] Here’s a blog entry about gold stars. It explains what the gold star means and the history of it. Gold Stars” […]

  4. Ef says:

    I see an older pick up truck at the commissary on occasion with disabled vet tags, proud air force mom sticker and gold star sticker. It chokes me every damn time.

  5. Gold Star Wife says:

    I am another Gold Star Wife, and I want to thank Pat for your entry. We need to remember that for every casualty there are parents and siblings and often a spouse and children. When I wear my Gold Star apparel, people don’t recognize it. We aren’t doing a good job of getting the word out there. I think people recognize the Blue Star more readily. God bless all of our troops and their families!

  6. Patty G says:

    I’m a Gold Star Wife. David and I were wonderfully married for 13 years before he was KIA two years ago. We have three sons and our only daughter was stillborn a year before his deployment. My husband paid the ultimate sacrifice two weeks before he was to come home on R&R. He was killed on Christmas Day. My life and my sons lives were forever changed the day that was supposed to be filled with joy. I thank you for this blog. A lot of people are not aware of GSW or GSF so thank you for remembering our Fallen.

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