Memorial Day — Thank a Gold Star Family

All gave some, and some gave all. A lot has been made of “whom” you should thank on Memorial Day. Personally, I have no problem thanking a veteran 366 days a year. Even if it only comes once every four years during a leap year, I do not want to miss a day. That being said, I do not confuse Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day. Mother receiving a flag at a military funeral goldstar-150x150 Today is a day to remember those who died while serving in the Armed Forces but not a day to forget those who are still with us. Many of those who made the ultimate sacrifice left behind loved ones. The organization America’s Gold Star Families is dedicated to honoring our fallen heroes who served in the United States Armed Forces and caring for their survivors through programs and services offered at no cost to the survivors. One of its most important missions is to educate the many people who do not know the significance of the Gold Star banner or its meaning. The organization is committed to educating others about this important designation and how to properly respond when meeting someone who has lost a loved one in service to our country.

Get Involved

The 2016 budget of America’s Gold Star Families was $150,000. It operates on corporate sponsorships and donations from individuals. If you’d like to donate, checks can be made payable to Gold Star. Additionally, there are other ways to get involved. America’s Gold Star Families holds charity events, including a 5K run in Peoria, Illinois, to be held this year on July 1—less than a mile from where I live. I’ll be running in the event, and if you plan to attend, please leave a comment and we can do it together or, at a minimum, share a cold drink afterward.

The organization is spreading a little cheer and awareness in other ways, too. America’s Gold Star Families sends birthday cards along with gift cards to the children of fallen heroes and sends representatives to speak at a variety of different events with a message appropriate to the audience.


Of course, the main message of this Memorial Day post is to support the Gold Star Families—both the organization and the individuals. However, there is one more thing I would like to touch on, and it is addressed to the veterans. I have heard more than one veteran scorn someone for thanking them for their service on Memorial Day, advising them that this is a day to remember the fallen, not the living. While that is true, we would never show such ire to someone offering that same recognition to a Gold Star Family.

Veterans, do not be hesitant to accept such thanks on Memorial Day. I do not wish to put myself on the same level as a Gold Star Family member. However, I served. I lost brothers in the service of their country. I still hurt and mourn their loss, and so do a lot of others. Veterans carry their own cross, similar to Gold Star Families.

I would humbly ask that you remember our fallen heroes, pray for our Gold Star Families, and not be afraid to thank a veteran (or be afraid to accept that thanks) for their service and the brothers and sisters they may have lost.

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Comments (6)

  1. Today for me, as a VETERAN, is The National Day to REMEMBER my Brothers and Sisters That Have Gone Before. Not that I or anyone cannot or don’t remember Them every day. That They gave their lives or were killed during WAR, Paying The ULTIMATE PRICE to Back the Check that guarantees THIER/OUR FREEDOMS. I DO NOT fuss at people wishing me a Happy Memorial Day or Thanking me for my service….I DO usually politely inform them of the difference and what Memorial Day Really means….and WHO it is for. Something else to add is that Memorial Day ALSO APPLIES to Southern Veterans of the Civil War or also known as “The War of Northern Aggression”….They were also Americans that were killed and died during War….

  2. As a 21-year veteran of Army service, including combat in Vietnam, I readily accept the comments of all who approach me who wish to thank me for my service. I have never even thought of denigrating anybody’s thanks, my usual comment in return for their thanks being…..’Thanks for your support and gratitude”. I often add to that comment with something like…..”I truly enjoyed my service…..all 21-years of it”.

    Living in the Army town of Killeen, Texas…..the gate town of Fort Hood…..we have a large retired military population, as well as several thousand soldiers who are currently on active duty. It is common to receive thanks from the young soldiers as well as others, and when thanked by the young troops, it is right and proper to thank them for their service as well.

    It seems that common courtesies have somewhat faded from the American scene in recent years, so whenever the courtesy of thanks for military service is extended, I urge all who are a part of that pretty small number of US military veterans who are still with us… be gracious and courteous to those who still have the gratitude to express their thanks.

    Lt Col
    US Army (Ret)

    1. The pleasure and honor is mine… Blessings to you and yours as well. ~Dave Dolbee

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