Sealed with a Star, MacDill recognize Gold Star Mothers and Family Members

  • Published
  • By Story by Airman 1st Class Sterling Sutton
  • 6 Air Refueling Wing

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.— Gold Star Mothers Inc., Tampa Bay and MacDill AFB leadership honored the families of fallen military service members, by hosting a Gold Star Mothers and Families Day event on Sept. 24, 2023.

Originally implemented on June 23, 1936, a presidential proclamation declared the last Sunday in September to be recognized as Gold Star Mothers and Family Day.

For those Gold Star Families in attendance, having the opportunity to both share their stories, and to offer support to others gives them a sense of community.

“The deepest loss a mother can suffer is the loss of a beloved son or daughter,” said Toni Gross, a Gold Star Mother of U.S. Army Corporal Frank R. Gross. “As the mother of a fallen soldier, I have found healing through service to others.”

During the event, leaders from U.S. Central Command, the 6th Air Refueling Wing and Gold Star Families Inc., Tampa Bay, delivered remarks and reflected on the contributions of the service members who have paid the ultimate price in the line of duty.

“We are here today to recognize and honor the family members who have lost a love who served our country in the United States Armed Forces,” said Nefertiti Barnes, 6th Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant.

Although the lives of Gold Star Families are changed forever, many have leaned on each other for support.

“After all that they’ve done for me, and all I’ve been able to do to help other grieving mothers, I would say that Gold Star Mothers are indeed a national treasure,” said Evelyn Brady, Gold Star Mother of U.S. Navy Aircrewman Third Class Mohammed “MO” Haitham.

Gold Star Mothers Inc. has earned federal charter from Congress since it was incorporated in 1929. The group began with 25 mothers living in the Washington, D.C. area and soon spread across the nation.

Gold Star Mothers Inc., Tampa Bay is a private nonprofit organization of mothers who are involved in the community and honoring the lives of those lost.

The organization was named after the gold star banners that families draped in their windows in honor of the deceased veteran. The flag is officially defined as a white field with a red border, with a blue star for each family member serving in the Armed Forces during any period of war. A gold star with blue edges represents a family member who died during military service.

Along with the numerous Americans who gather, MacDill is honored to host events such as Gold Star Mother’s and Families Day events to show support, and respect towards Gold Star Mothers and their families.

“We are humbled by the presence of all the gold star families in attendance,” said 2nd Lt. Laura Anderson, 6th Air Refueling Wing public affairs officer. “MacDill is forever in debt to what these families have given to our great nation.”