Local Gold Star Family committee close to completing its mission
The American Gold Star Family monument will be placed in the Veterans Memorial Plaza at Tyden Park in Hastings at sundown Sunday, Sept. 29.
J-Ad News Services
Another star will begin shining at the Veterans Memorial Plaza at Tyden Park in Hastings this Sunday when the Gold Star Family stone will join other revered markers honoring the different branches of the military and the people who served in specific wars, such as Vietnam, WWI and WWII.
A dedication ceremony for the new monument honoring immediate family members of United Stated armed forces members lost during any period of war or hostilities will begin at 7:30 p.m. It comes on the day that Gold Star Families celebrate nationwide in what's known as Gold Star Mother's Day.
The ceremony will include the lighting of luminary candles and speeches by Hastings Mayor Dave Tossava and former mayor, Frank Campbell. Two additional addresses will be offered by Gold Star Mothers Linda Curtis and Wendy Ralston. Ralston wrote the poem that will be displayed on the Gold Star stone.
Jim Atkinson, chair of the American Gold Star Family committee, said discussion about how to honor Gold Star Families who have lost loved ones who died in defense of their country has come up many times over the years. Following construction of the Veterans Memorial Plaza at Tyden Park in May 2017, those discussions then had a focus.
“We wanted to be sure we used every avenue possible to reach Gold Star families in Barry County and surrounding counties,” says Atkinson, who noted the history behind the gold star designation.
A Gold Star Family is a reference that was initially derived from the service flag. These flags were first flown by families during World War I. The flag included a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the armed forces of the United States, during any period of war or hostilities in which the U.S. armed forces were engaged.
During World War I, women who had family members serving the country wore a blue star on their left arm.
As many soldiers died in that conflict, the suggestion was made to sew a gold star over the blue star to represent the sacrifice The Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense presented the idea to President Woodrow Wilson and the practice was adopted in 1918.
On June 4, 1928, 25 mothers in Washington, D. C., banded together to form a non-profit organization designated as the American Gold Star Mothers.
Campbell who'll be among those delivering remarks at the dedication ceremony on Sunday has a deep and personal connection to the movement.
“I remember seeing the blue stars in the window of houses when I was a kid,” Campbell said told The Reminder in May. “My grandmother had four. When I saw a gold star, I knew what it meant, even then. I carried that with me my entire time in the Army. It's a terrible thing to have to bury a young, healthy child knowing you'll never see them grow up or have children of their own.”
The United States began observing Gold Star Mother's Day on the last Sunday of September 1936, and the Gold Star Wives was formed before the end of World War II.
Today, the nation recognizes the sacrifice all Gold Star Family members make when a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, or other relative dies in service to the nation. Gold Star Mother's and Family’s Day is the last Sunday of September and Gold Star Spouse's Day is April 5.
“The Gold Star Monument is something I truly want to see happen before my time here on Earth is done. It's very important to me that the sacrifices made by American families through every military campaign also are honored and recognized,” Campbell said. “It's important to a lot of other people, too.”