PHOTO CAPTION: HONOLULU " Gold Star mothers drape a ti leaf lei wrapped in golden cranes, made by Gold Star mothers and families, in front of the boots of their fallen sons and daughters at the base of the Lady Columbia memorial during a Gold Star Mother's Day remembrance ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, here, Sept. 30, 2012. Photo Credit: USAG Hawaii File Photo
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Army officials invite the community to take part in honoring the mothers of fallen service members at a ceremony in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, or Punchbowl, at 11:30 a.m., Sept. 29.
During the Gold Star Mother's Day ceremony, mothers of fallen service members, or "Gold Star mothers," will place a lei of honor and remembrance, as well as gold origami cranes at the foot of the Lady Columbia statue.
Lady Columbia stands tall at the cemetery, representing all grieving mothers of the armed forces, as she vigilantly watches over the fallen.
"We owe our deepest gratitude and respect to these mothers who have survived such heartbreaking losses," said Col. Daniel Whitney, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, and ceremony host. "Their strength and resilience is both humbling and inspiring."
Gold Star ohana (family members) and friends are invited to participate in the ceremony.
Survivor Outreach Services, part of Army Community Service, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, USAG-HI, is the host of the annual event.
The U.S. began observing Gold Star Mother's Day in 1936 to honor the sacrifice and strength of its Gold Star mothers. The day is nationally recognized every year by a presidential proclamation.
Mothers of fallen service members began calling themselves Gold Star mothers during World War I. The name was derived from the custom of military families putting a small flag in their home's front window.
The flag featured a star for each family member serving in the armed forces -- living members denoted by a blue star and a gold star honoring family members killed in the line of duty.
- September Events -
Survivor Outreach Services holds the following events in September for Gold Star mothers.
•Sept. 20, 9 a.m., SOS will honor Gold Star mothers and families with a morning tea and light, home-baked delicacies.
•Sept. 20, 11 a.m., Gold Star families will dedicate a quilted American "Flag of Remembrance" and "Boots of the Fallen" at Hale Koa Hotel. The display will showcase through Sept. 30.
•Sept. 26, 5 p.m., Gold Star families will participate in the Hale Koa evening luau.
•Sept. 29, 11:30 a.m., the military will honor Gold Star families at the feet of Lady Columbia, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.