WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Gold Star pins have a long history full of tradition but the official designation of Gold Star Wives' Day is recent. Congress named the first Gold Star Wives' Day on Dec. 18, 2010. Now, Gold Star Wives' Day is observed on April 5 of each year.
Remembrance days like Gold Star Wives Day honor the sacrifices of the individuals a fallen service member has left behind but also are a way to promote awareness for what being a Gold Star Family Member means. Days like this should serve as a reminder for us all to remember, respect and honor our fallen military heroes and the sacrifice and strength of surviving families who wear the Gold Star Pins.
The Gold Star is a symbol of loss dating back to the first World War. During World War I and continuing through today, families that had a family member in the Armed Forces traditionally displayed a blue star service flag in their homes to signify a deployed family member.
The Gold Star recognition first appeared on flags in 1918, when families would pin a gold star over the blue service star hanging in their window to indicate that their loved one had been killed overseas while serving in the U.S. military.
In 1947 Congress approved the design, manufacture and distribution of the official Gold Star Lapel Button. The Gold Star Lapel Button symbolizes service members who lost their lives in combat operations. This pin features a gold star on a purple background. The Lapel Button for Next of Kin of Deceased Personnel was later introduced in 1973 to symbolize active duty service members who lost their lives in non-combat operations. This pin features a gold star on a gold background surround by laurel leaves.
The Navy is committed to providing long term assistance to surviving family members. The Navy Gold Star Program is dedicated to fostering resiliency for surviving families of fallen service members regardless of how they lost their lives.
Navy Gold Star coordinators connect survivors with resources such as chaplain services, personal financial counseling, school liaison assistance, family employment, clinical counseling, and area survivor events and want these individuals to know they will forever be a part of the Navy community.
As Gold Star Wives' Day approaches, please take a moment to honor and remember all of our Gold Star spouses and families who have committed and sacrificed so much to our great Nation. Remember, behind every Gold Star pin there are stories of fallen service members and strong survivors.
For more news from Commander, Navy Installations Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cni/.