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. 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.
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.