Sunday, the nation will honor the strength and sacrifice of mothers of service members who have died defending the nation’s freedom, as it has since 1936.
As part of Gold Star Mothers Day, Fort Rucker will host a service at 6:30 p.m. outside the main post chapel, as the community will join the nation with a luminary lighting and time of reflection.
“Gold Star Mother’s Day is tied to a history dating back to World War I,” said Rick Kohl, Survivor Outreach Services support coordinator. “Families of deployed service members would hang a flag with blue stars in the windows of their homes as a sign of an immediate Family member’s service. Each blue star represented a Family member serving in the armed forces of the United States during a time of war.
“If the Family member was killed, the blue star was replaced with a gold one,” he said. “Members of the community would know the sacrifice that had been made.”
In a tri-signed letter honoring Gold Star Mothers, Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Secretary of the Army John McHugh wrote, “As the beneficiaries of those who died while ensuring better lives for us all, we vow to never forget the great price paid for the way of life that all Americans enjoy.”
“The gold star lapel button has been used since 1947 as a way to recognize Families of service members who lost their lives while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States,” said Kohl, “Then, in 1977, the Army approved the next-of-kin lapel button, as well.”
All are invited to attend the service to honor those fallen heroes and their survivors, Kohl said.
“There is no doubt we live in challenging times, and those who have lost a loved one may feel the challenging times may never lessen,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Troy Allen. “However, it is our hope that by holding this service, and in lighting a luminary for those who have passed, we will honor and bring hope to the living in these challenging times.”
And Kohl added that it is important for the Army to keep in touch with those survivors who have lost loved ones in the nation’s defense.
“Every time we have the opportunity to reach out and support those individuals who have lost a Family member, to connect to them, it has a positive impact on the Army culture because we have an Army Family Covenant, a commitment to support all the Family systems in the Army,” he said. “This is an extension of that. It helps the Army be a stronger Family – to be able to reach out to those who have lost a loved one.”
Posted in the Army Flier – September 25, 2014