the families of military servicemEn and servicewomEn who died in service to our nation. these are america's Gold star families.

"Gold Star Family" is a modern reference that comes from the Service Flag. These flags/banners were first flown by families during World War I. The flag included a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the armed forces of the United States, during any period of war or hostilities in which the armed forces of the United States were engaged. If that loved one died, the blue star was replaced by a gold star. This allowed members of the community to know the price that the family had paid in the cause of freedom.



There are two different lapel pins issued by the Department of Defense to Gold Star Family members. The pins serve as a public display and remembrance of their sacrifices. 

The Gold Star Lapel Pin was established by Congress in 1947 and is given to widows, parents and next of kin of those service members killed in combat. The pin features a gold star on a field of purple and surrounded by laurel leaves.

The Next of Kin Lapel Pin, approved in 1973, is presented to the primary next of kin of service members who lose their lives while serving on active duty or while assigned in a Reserve or National Guard unit in a drill status. This pin features a gold star on a gold background and surrounded by four oak sprigs.