Memorial Day is a time for our nation to pay special thanks to service members in uniform. There is, however, a special group of Americans who are heroes in their own right, and are bound by the solemn experience of knowing and loving someone who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. We call them Gold Star Families.
This year, Families United, one of the nation’s leading Gold Star Family organizations, will launch the first National Gold Star Family Registry. This public, online platform will be the first, comprehensive record of fallen heroes and family network ever developed. Whether they gave their life in WWII, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq or Afghanistan or another conflict, the registry will be a place to ensure their memory will live on.
It is the responsibility of every American to carry forward the memory of their sacrifice. Yet today, there is no singular place where all our heroes who gave their lives can be found either in print or online. There is no national registry or public database that serves as a perpetual memorial to all those who paid the ultimate price for this nation. The aim of the registry is to create the first “virtual memorial,” ensuring that Americans from all over the country can learn about the heroic sacrifice of service members firsthand and allow their families to connect.
Bringing Families Together
The National Gold Star Family Registry is intended to create not just a searchable database of the fallen, but a new community of America’s Gold Star Families. Family members will have the opportunity to create a tribute page for their hero as well as their own online profile that will be part of a private Gold Star network.
The registry will provide them with new avenues to communicate, support one another and most of all, honor the fallen. As the registry grows, we will add new functions that will further develop the largest online community of Gold Star Family members ever created, helping families support each other across the years and miles.
The National Gold Star Family Registry will be organized into three principal components. The first will be a searchable database of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardsmen killed while in the service of our country. There will also be a tribute section to honor our heroes and a private network to allow Gold Star families to connect with each other.
The technical infrastructure will permit the public to search the registry using a variety of criteria. Intended to allow individuals to research their loved ones, schools will also be able to utilize this tool for public education, teaching the youth of today, about the heroes of yesterday, making them leaders of tomorrow.
Upon completion of the registry, Families United will take it to cities across the country, allowing Americans to search for, and honor, the heroes in their family tree. The tour will begin this fall and crisscross the country, ensuring that patriots from the sunshine of California to the hustle and bustle of New York City are able to take part in ensuring that their fallen hero is given their proper due.
We can never repay the debt of honor that our fallen heroes gave to the cause of freedom. However, with National Gold Star Registry, we can ensure that their effort and bravery will be acknowledged for years to come. Honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s military and their families is not a once a year event. We should honor and remember the real American heroes every moment that we enjoy the freedom that was purchased with their lives. That is every moment of every day.