Blue Stars Turned to Gold – Memorial Day 2019
Beginning in WWI, families put up blue stars on their homes to signify that they had a loved one serving in the military. By the end of the war, many of those blue stars had gold ones sewn over the top of them. It was a symbol of loss. Today, we call them “Gold Star families” when they have sacrificed beloved sons and daughters for our nation.
According to Walter Borneman, the author of “Brothers Down” on December 7, 1941, there were 38 sets of brothers serving aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. Of the 78 brothers, 63 of them died on that fateful day. It was a tragic day when blue stars turned to gold.
The first Memorial Day took place in 1868. Known at the time as “Decoration Day,” it was to be a day “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
General John A. Logan , May 5, 1868
It was originally created for May 30, and at first only for Civil War deaths, but after WWI and beyond, it was changed to all military deaths. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which placed it on the last Monday in the month of May.
Over the decades, thousands more blue stars have turned to gold. Patriotism lives among the tombstones of the fallen, but it’s the families of the dead that remind us of their sacrifices. We must not forget that real people have given their lives…and their loved ones for the United States of America.
Thomas Jefferson once said that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” As American patriots have given their lives, as American families have sacrificed their sons and daughters in the effort to save others from tyrants, Memorial Day is the time to reflect on the days when blue stars turned to gold.
Featured photo via The Old Farmer’s Almanac