NEW YORK (NNS) -- Gold Star family members, senior officers, New York City officials and volunteers gathered at The Lowell hotel for the 2nd annual Tribute Journey Fleet Week Afternoon Tea service to honor those families who have lost family members during military service, May 26.
The intimate gathering took place in conjunction with 2017 Fleet Week New York (FWNY) activities.
The Department of Defense recognizes the families of the fallen by giving them a Gold Star Lapel Button. This button is a visual reminder of the price the service member and their family paid in service to our country.
"This is a precarious time in history," said Kathryn Cross, a Gold Star Mother, organizer of the event and artist. "Now, more than ever we need to honor each other and the losses we have suffered."
Ninety-three American Gold Star Mothers and 312 volunteers, both domestically and internationally, honor their lost loved-ones by dedicating their time and efforts to creating handmade greeting cards, or "thanks of service." These cards are then distributed to veteran hospitals in more than 17 countries and ships at sea. In the last 9 years, over a quarter of a million cards have been distributed.
Others in attendance were Rear Adm. Jack Scorby, commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic; Doug McGowan, chairman of the United Veterans War Council; and Loree Sutton, commissioner of The Mayor's Office of Veterans' Affairs in New York City and a retired Army brigadier general.
"It is important as human beings to be real about what we are asking [of our service members] when we lose them," said Sutton. "Is it worth it? Was it worth it? That is not my question to answer. The service member answered this question through their service. Whatever solace this offers, we are all in this together."
Scorby spoke briefly, expressing his gratitude for the chance to attend the event and honor the Gold Star families.
Now in its 29th year, FWNY is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services.
For up-to-date information on ship locations and tour schedules, visit the official Fleet Week New York website at www.fleetweeknewyork.com, "Like" www.facebook.com/FleetWeekNewYork, or "Follow" www.twitter.com/FleetWeekNYC. Join the conversation on social media by using #FleetWeekNYC.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrma/.