Survivor Stories

What Is a Gold Star Family Member?

Gold Star family members are recognized as the immediate family members of service members who have died while serving our nation during conflict.

During WWI, families of deployed service members began displaying a service flag with a blue star at their homes to represent their loved ones. If their service member passed, the blue star was changed to a gold star. In order to honor the many lives lost during WWI, on June 23, 1936, Senate Joint Resolution 115 established the last Sunday of September as Gold Star Mother’s Day. In 2011, President Barack Obama amended the resolution to recognize all Gold Star family members on that day each year.

In a proclamation signed by President Biden in September 2023, he said that “on Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day, we grieve for those who paid the ultimate price to keep our nation safe and secure and for the families who will always feel their absence. May we continue to honor their sacrifice by working toward that more perfect union, for which so many patriots lived and died, and may we always keep faith with our Gold Star families who carry their light forward each day.” 



Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) serves Gold Star and other surviving family members by creating meaningful opportunities to heal, grow, and serve alongside other family members of the fallen. Through Survivor Service Expeditions, Gold Star and surviving family members find more than a support system; they find a place where they can lead a life of service to honor the legacy and selfless spirit of their loved one. For many Gold Star and surviving family members, a TMF Expedition is a pivotal step in the healing journey.

At TMF, we believe in the powerful role that Gold Star and surviving family members can play in restoring our nation’s communities and inspiring our next generation. Through our Character Does Matter (CDM) powered by UA Freedom program, Gold Star and surviving family members serve as youth mentors across the country, developing character and leadership skills in young adults. If you are a Gold Star or surviving family member, click here to learn more about how you can share the story of your loved one and honor their legacy of service through becoming a youth mentor. 


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