First Gold Star Families Day observed at Capitol

For decades, mothers who have lost sons or daughters in military service have been recognized annually on Gold Star Mother's Day the last Sunday in September.
On Monday, the other surviving relatives of deceased military personnel got official recognition in Illinois on the first Gold Star Families Day. The day was observed during a ceremony in the Capitol.
The event was the result of legislation passed unanimously in the General Assembly last spring to bring recognition to people who are sometimes forgotten when a member of the military is killed.
“Gold Star families all suffered the loss,” said James Frazier, whose son Jacob, a staff sergeant in the Illinois Air National Guard, was killed in Afghanistan in 2003. “He was the eldest of five children. His four siblings suffered that loss just as badly as his mother and I did.”
The tradition of using gold stars to designate homes where someone has died during military service goes back to World War I. Homes with members serving in the military flew flags that had a star for each member. A blue star designated someone serving in the military, while a gold star represented someone who had died in the line of duty.
It wasn’t until 1936, though, that Congress declared the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother's Day. The legislation approved by the Illinois General Assembly designates the following Monday as Gold Star Families Day. (Read more from Doug Finke's article at The Springfield Journal-Register here.)

Find out more about the "Gold Star" programs by clicking on the respective links: