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Gold Star Spouses Day – April 5, 2023

Gold Spouses Day is observed annually on April 5. We honor and grieve with the families of lost or wounded military service members. Often known as Gold Star Wives Day, this day has now become inclusive of all family members — male or female — who have lost loved ones through service in the military. This day lets these affected families know that we remember their sacrifice, and honor their loss. Remembrance ceremonies are held, and there are “remember the fallen” road races in their honor.

History of Gold Star Spouses Day

Thousands of men and women dedicate their lives to serving the country daily. This also means there are thousands of families that have members enlisted in the military. Imagine saying goodbye to a loved one with no certainty of their return. This is what military families have to go through every time their loved one is called for duty. Wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters of our fearless service heroes are left behind.

The Gold Star initiative was started during World War One, where families would hang service flags with blue stars representing each of their family members that were serving in the military. If the family member or members in question died, the stars would be replaced by gold stars as a public display of the price the family has paid for freedom. By 1945 the Golden Star Wives Association was established with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as one of its founding members. Shortly after, the government approved the Golden Star Lapel Button which was presented to spouses and families of those who have lost a member through military service.

In 1929 a law was passed that offered compensation for mothers and wives of those killed in combat, and by 1936, National Gold Star Mother’s Day was designated to be observed on the Last Sunday in September. This title was eventually amended to Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day by President Barack Obama. The first Gold Star Wives’ Day was observed in 2010, and eventually, the title was changed to the more inclusive Gold Star Spouse Day.

Gold Star Spouses Day timeline

1914 to 1918
The Gold Star Initiative

World War One initiates the gold star initiative that encourages family members of those serving in the military to hang blue-starred flags outside their homes.

1980
The Official Seal

The Gold Star Wives of America Association receive its first Congressional charter.

2010
A Day For Grieving Wives

The first Gold Star Wives Day is observed.

2012
The Date is Set

The US Senate designates April 5 as the date for Gold Star Wives Day.

Gold Star Spouses Day FAQs

Is Gold Star Wives of America the only association established for Gold Star Families?

It’s not the only organization established for the cause. The Gold Star Sons and Daughters association was later established by the Gold Wives of America to sponsor activities for the children of lost military service members.

When did the first Gold Star Wives of America meeting take place?

The first meeting was held on April 5, 1945. It was organized by four young widows who lost their husbands in the war and was hosted in Marie Jordan’s apartment on West 20th Street in New York City.

Why did First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt join the Gold Star Wives of America?

She joined the Gold Star Wives of America shortly after the passing of her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945 and served on the first board of directors.

How to Observe Gold Star Spouses Day

  1. Attend an event or memorial

    Events may include, teas, memorial runs, and luncheons. There are also memorial services that are held on this day. Do your research and find out about one happening close to you and make a plan to attend.

  2. Volunteer or donate

    Gold Star Families often find themselves facing difficult financial times and often need help in various ways. The Gold Star Wives of America Association accepts donations and volunteers all year round.

  3. Call a Gold Star Family mamber

    Do you know anyone who has lost a loved one through military service? Call them and provide words of encouragement and comfort.

5 Facts Of Life In The Military

  1. Relocation is part of the game

    Military families relocate almost 10 times more than regular families; that is approximately every two to three years.

  2. Deployments cause mental health challenges

    Statistics have shown that when a male military service member is deployed for over a year 36.6% of female spouses experience mental health diagnoses.

  3. Death touches several people

    Bereavement experts say an average of 10 people are affected by an active duty military loss.

  4. Most spouses are young females

    About 95% of military spouses are female under 35 years, with only 5% being male spouses.

  5. Careers are almost non-existent for spouses

    Building a long-term career can be difficult for spouses of military members as they would have to move every other year.

Why Gold Star Spouses Day is Important

  1. It’s a recognition holiday

    This day recognizes the fearless sacrifices of military service members and their families. When things like the death of a loved one occur, it is easy to question what it was all for. This day provides that recognition to Gold Star Families.

  2. It’s a memorial day

    On this day, we remember our fallen soldiers and heroes of battle. It serves as a memorial day for the nation as a whole. It is also another chance for affected family members to grieve their loss.

  3. It provides comfort

    The most important people on this day are the Gold Star Families who have lost their loved ones. Gold Star Spouses Day provides a sense of comfort to affected family members. It helps them feel less alone and lets them know we remember their sacrifice and grieve with them.

Gold Star Spouses Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 5Wednesday
2024April 5Friday
2025April 5Saturday
2026April 5Sunday
2027April 5Monday

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