Gold Star Families

The Ultimate Sacrifice


Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, grandparents, friends – all left behind to grieve the loss of their American Hero.

We want to remember their loved one but we also want to remember those left behind. 


WAR Operation – Under the Flag 

  • tell the stories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice
  • remember the loved ones left behind

“He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live. … He lives in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt


“In the hope that it may be no intrusion upon the sacredness of your sorrow, I have ventured to address you this tribute to the memory of my young friend, and your brave and early fallen child…” President Abraham Lincoln


“Dear Madam,” it began:

“I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

“I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

“I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

“Yours, very sincerely and respectfully, A. Lincoln”


For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 28, 2001

President Proclaims Gold Star Mother’s Day
By the President of the United States Of America
A Proclamation

     Since its inception, this Nation has relied upon courageous young men and women to fight willingly for our country’s ideals.  Time and again, these men and women have secured America’s liberty and prosperity.  In defense of freedom and the values Americans hold sacred, many have paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Over the course of the last 226 years, more than 1 million American mothers have endured the loss of a son or daughter in service to our Nation.

     In the aftermath of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson first used the term “Gold Star Mother.”  It signified not only the remembrance of a young life sacrificed in service to America, but the pride, dignity, and devotion of one who had first given life to that heroic young American.  Since 1928, Gold Star Mothers have sustained themselves through their profound sorrow by lovingly serving others.  From civic education and community service, to the care of veterans and those in need, the Gold Star Mothers promote patriotism, serve their country, and perpetuate the memories of their lost loved ones.  Today, the Nation’s Gold Star Mothers still stand as symbols of purpose, perseverance, and grace in the face of personal tragedy.  Each year, the Nation remembers their sacrifice by honoring the Gold Star Mothers for their steadfast commitment to the legacy of their fallen children and their devotion to the United States of America.

     The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895), has designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother’s Day and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 30, 2001, as Gold Star Mother’s Day.  I call upon all Government officials to display the United States flag over Government buildings on this solemn day.  I also encourage the American people to display the flag and to hold appropriate meetings in their homes, places of worship, or other suitable places as a public expression of the sympathy and respect that our Nation holds for our Gold Star Mothers.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-sixth.

                              GEORGE W. BUSH


Proclamation 3537
PEACE OFFICERS MEMORIAL DAY AND POLICE WEEK


May 4,1963 By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
WHEEEAS, from the beginning of this Nation, law enforcement
officers have played an important role in safeguarding the rights and
freedoms which are guaranteed by the Constitution and in protecting
the lives and property of our citizens; and
WHEEEAS, through constant application of new procedures and
techniques, such officers are becoming more efficient in their enforcement of our laws; and
WHEEEA S it is important that our people know and understand
the problems, duties, and responsibilities of their police departments
and the necessity for cooperating with them in maintaining law and
order; and
WHEEEA S it is fitting and proper that we express our gratitude
for the dedicated service and courageous deeds of law enforcement
officers and for the contributions they have made to the security and
well-being of all our people; and
WHEEEAS, by a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962 (76
36 use 167. Stat. 676), the Congress has requested the President to designate
May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar
week during which such May 15 occurs as Police Week:
NOW, THEEEFOEE , I, JOHN F. KENNEDY, President of the
United States of America, do hereby designate May 15, 1963, and
May 15 of each succeeding year, as Peace Officers Memorial Day, in
honor of those peace officers who, through their courageous deeds,
have lost their lives or have become disabled in the performance
of duty.
I also designate the week of May 12 through May 18, 1963, and the
calendar week during which May 15 occurs of each succeeding year,
as Police Week, in recognition of the service given by the men and
women who, night and day, protect us through enforcement of our
laws.
I invite State and local government, patriotic, civic, and educational organizations, and the people of the United States generally,
to observe Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week in this year
May 9, 1963
77 STAT. ] PROCLAMATION 3538-MAY 9, 1963 1005
and each succeeding year with appropriate ceremonies in which all
our people may join in commemorating law enforcement officers,
past and present, who by their faithful and loyal devotion to their
responsibilities have rendered a dedicated service to their comimunities, and, in so doing, have established for themselves an enviable
and enduring reputation for preserving the rights and security of
all citizens.
IN WITNESS WHEEEOF, I have hereunto set my hand and
caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this fourth day of May in the
year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and of
[SEALJ the Independence of the United States of America the one
hundred and eighty-seventh.
JOHN F . KENNEDY
By the President:
GEORGE W . BALL,
Acting Secretary of State

This page is still being added to. We have podcasts, photos, stories, and more memorial quotes and proclamations to honor our military, EMS, law enforcement, and firefighters. Check back often for updates.

WAR Podcast – Topic: Justin Bowie – Under the Flag
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