The terms Gold Star family, Gold Star Spouses, and Gold Star Wives traditionally refer to the surviving loved ones of military members killed in the line of duty in combat. Gold Star Spouses Day was created to honor these loved ones.
This recognition of the sacrifices made by military spouses is a memorial for the fallen, a day of remembrance for the survivors, and an appreciation for those who are sometimes in danger of being overlooked for their support and service to the country.
The Gold Star is a tradition that began during World War One; service flags were flown by military families during this time, with blue stars for every family member serving in uniform. If one died, the blue star was replaced by a gold star. This allowed members of the community to know the price that the family had paid in the cause of freedom.
The tradition of Gold Star Spouses Day began in the early part of the 20th century as Gold Star Mother’s Day, observed on the last Sunday of September beginning in 1936. An organization known as Gold Star Wives began operating before the end of the Second World War, and the Gold Star lapel button tradition was established in the summer of 1947.
All of this set the stage for Gold Star Spouses Day, which began as Gold Star Wives Day-the first of which occurred in December 2010. Two years later a Senate resolution codified Gold Star Wives Day, observed on April 5 each year. Today the event is known as Gold Star Spouses Day, though many still use “Gold Star Wives Day” interchangeably with Gold Star Spouses Day.
If you know any surviving spouse of any person of the United States military who died while a member of the armed forces of our country, or who died after such service because of an injury or disability incurred during such service, please extend your heartfelt gratitude.