SILVERDALE, Wa. (NNS) -- Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) and the Navy Gold Star Program (NGSP) hosted the inaugural Bells Across America Remembrance Ceremony to honor the lives of all who lost a family member or friend during service to the country.
"I feel Bells Across America is important not just for service members who lost their lives, but also for those who serve now or plan to serve in the future." said Cmdr. Anthony Pecoraro, NBK executive officer. "In addition, I feel this is the appropriate way to honor those who served and lost their lives."
The Navy Gold Star Program is designed to offer both short and long term support and services to survivors of our fallen service members.
"It is an incredibly great honor to participate in this extremely relevant ceremony," said Lt. Brandon Korter, chaplain at Naval Operational Support Center. "We are here to honor our fallen and comfort the friends and family of those who are grieving"
During World War I, families hung banners or flags outside their homes to signify their loved ones serving during that time. A blue star signified that the service member was currently serving and a gold star was laid on top of the blue to show that member laid down their life in service.
"It takes a special person to be able to support the way of life for those who don't serve," said Pecoraro.
Pecoraro read the many names of the fallen service members who gave their lives for our nation's freedoms and Culinary Specialist Seaman Juvencio Perez, assigned to Naval Submarine Support Center - Bangor, acknowledged them with the ringing of the bell.
"It was a privilege to honor our Gold Star Families this morning," said Capt. Alan Schrader, NBK commanding officer. "As a nation, we must always support these families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom."
Service members and Gold Star Families who attended the ceremony observed the 9/11 Memorial Park and saw the many names engraved in it.
"I'm happy the ceremony turned out well," said Christy Forsling, Work and Family Life Consultant at Fleet and Family Support Center. "I truly appreciate the support from NBK leadership and all those who attended."
Bells Across America is slated to become an annual event that takes place the fourth Thursday of September.
"We want to encourage all those who have lost a friend or family member to come out and attend next year," added Korter. "You will be touched and blessed."
For more information on NGSP, visit: http://www.navygoldstar.com/.
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