PHOTO CAPTION: Enacted June 23, 1936 the 74th United States Congress designated "Gold Star Mother's Day" as a national commemoration for the American people to pause and honor the continued service of the Gold Star Mothers"women who have been forever changed through the ultimate sacrifice of their sons and daughters who have sacrificed their lives in the service of the nation. This year, the Army community will join the nation Sept. 29, for this expression of community solidarity.
September 26, 2013
By Lt. Col. Melton Johnson, Chaplain
U.S. Army Installation Management Command
SAN ANTONIO -- Gold star mothers and families are an inspiration that the world needs to see. On Sep. 29, please hang your gold star flags and wear your pins with pride.
I am not a big person of music but there are several patriotic/national songs which are favorites of mine that I enjoy hearing regardless of who sings them. Songs like: America the Beautiful, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless the USA, My Country 'Tis of Thee, the Star-Spangled Banner, and This Is My Country - to name a few. The reason these are favorites is that each seems to portray a picture of extreme sacrifice by America's heroes and sincere appreciation of the entire nation for this beautiful country and those who pay the ultimate price to keep it safe.
"My Tribute" by Andre Crouch, while not a patriotic melody, nor among traditional national songs, the words of the first stanza conveys a similar sentiment that is found in historical hymns. These words are also fitting to express continued gratitude to Gold Star Families during this weekend when the nation takes time to pay tribute to the loved ones of our fallen heroes. The words are:
How can I say thanks for all the things you have done for me?
Things so undeserved, yet you gave to prove your love for me;
the voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude.
All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe it all to Thee.
These words are amazing because they express the personal feelings I have for my brothers and sisters in arms, and the Families of those who lost a loved one in defense of our nation.
I am reminded of a recent experience while traveling in uniform when a lady stopped me at the airport and said - thank you sir for your service. She then shook my hand and offered to buy lunch. I kindly thanked her and said -- ma'am, I really appreciate your generosity, and truly am grateful for your sincerity but you don't have to do that.
After several attempts to purchase a meal for me, and my insistence that she had done enough by saying thanks for your service -- her eyes welled up with tears, she patted me on the back, and quietly walked away. She will never know how moved and touched I was by her words. But, despite the power of any words - she really wanted to do something tangible for me!! Words were not enough! It was not sufficient to just say thanks!
That lady's face will always be in my mind because her expression is the appearance of countless individuals who simply cannot do or say enough to show sincere gratitude to those who are committed to going beyond the call of duty for the nation's freedom. Freedom is not free!!!
How can I -- how can we, as a nation say thanks for all the things our fallen heroes have done for us? Not sure if I have the right answer but let me say this to Gold Star Families:
Be proud to display the Gold Star flag at your resident and wear the Gold Star medallion on your garments -- the world needs to see it! Never avoid parking in spaces that are designated for Gold Star Families -- that privilege is afforded because of the precious blood of unsung heroes. Stand proud and look up when you attend Soldiers Shows and the spot light is focused on the Gold Star section of the auditorium because it is our small way of saying - all that we are - and ever hope to be, we owe it all to Thee.