Gold Star Spouses Day, observed each year on April 5, is our opportunity to ensure we do not overlook the important role of service and support played by military spouses and family. Although Gold Star Spouses lost their loved ones in the line of duty, they continue to be a vital part of our military community. On Gold Star Spouses Day, we honor their commitment and sacrifice, both through remembrance and by highlighting a range of services and support available to them.
The Gold Star is Born
The tradition of the Gold Star dates back to World War I. Families would display a service flag that contained a blue star for each family member serving in the military. When a service member died, the family replaced the blue star with a gold star, letting the community know that a family member had died in the service of their country.
By 1947, the Gold Star had evolved from a symbol on a flag to an official Gold Star lapel button that was approved by Congress. It was at this same time that military officers began presenting Gold Stars to surviving family members during a funeral service for a fallen military member.
An Evolving Tradition
A variety of recognition traditions eventually evolved into Gold Star Spouses Day. In September 1936, Gold Star Mother’s Day was observed for the first time. Before the end of World War II, an organization known as Gold Star Wives was established, but the first Gold Star Wives Day was not observed until 2010. Two years later, a Senate resolution officially established Gold Star Wives Day to be observed on April 5 each year. Today, April 5 is observed in a more inclusive fashion as Gold Star Spouses Day.
Observing Gold Star Spouses Day
This special day of honor and recognition is not a national holiday. And while it’s often business as usual on most military installations, many create their own special observances for Gold Star Spouses Day. For example, some host remembrance 5Ks April 5. They may also urge their Gold Star families to share photos and memories of their fallen loved ones on social media.
If you’d like to observe Gold Star Spouses Day, here are some ideas for you:
- Attend a local event or volunteer with a Veterans group.
- Reach out to any Gold Star families you know.
- Attend memorials near you in honor of fallen warriors.
- Learn about Gold Star spouses by visiting goldstarwives.org.
- Use #GoldStarSpousesDay on your social media posts.
Resources for Gold Star Spouses
In addition to recognizing the sacrifice and grief of these spouses, Gold Star Spouses Day is also a time to ensure these individuals understand the large network of resources and assistance available to help them deal with the loss of their spouse and the change in their circumstances. Offered by the Department of Defense, resources include grief counseling, financial resources, camps and support groups for children, and much more, for as long as they’re needed. Read an overview of these services.
USBA is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.