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History of

Georgia Gold Star Father Recognition Event

  • The Gold Star Mothers was founded by Grace Darling Seibold after her son, George Vaughn Seibold, was killed in action during World War I. This organization served to comfort mothers who lost their children to war and to care for hospitalized veterans. On June 23, 1936, “Gold Star Mother’s Day” was designated for national observance on the last Sunday in the month of September. There is currently no national observance day for Gold Star Fathers.

  • The average age of the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who sacrifice their lives for our freedom range from 18 to 25. Unfortunately, many Gold Star Families do not have the resources to honor their loved one. This not only affects the parents of these fallen heroes, but also the spouses, children, and siblings who are left behind.

  • During the 2017 Legislative Session, State Representative Rhonda M. Burnough (District 77, D-Riverdale) drafted Resolution 723 (http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/display/20172018/HR/723) to honor Gold Star Fathers across the state of Georgia for the first time ever. The Resolution passed the Georgia House of Representatives in March, officially recognizing Thursday, November 9 as Gold Star Father Day in 2017.

  • Invitations were extended to Gold Star Fathers whose service member resided in Georgia while serving their country. The day includes a memorial honor and lunch, and attendance is free of charge to these fathers and their families. But the focus of the day is allowing these Fathers, who are often unintentionally overlooked, to publicly express their feelings about losing their loved one.

  • At the first ever Georgia Gold Star Father’s Recognition Event and luncheon, over forty Gold Star Fathers gathered at the Capitol on 9 November 2017, traveling from as far away as Texas. In total, over 100 people were in attendance. This was accomplished primarily through word of mouth, an informative website, social media activity, and minimal media coverage.

  • During the 2018 legislative session, House Resolution 655 (http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20172018/HR/655) passed unanimously in the Georgia House of Representatives. This bipartisan effort officially named November 9 as Gold Star Father Day annually.

  • On Friday, November 9, 2018 the Capitol hosted during Georgia’s first official Gold Star Father Day. Twenty-five fathers who lost their son or daughter in defense of democracy and freedom were once again publicly appreciated, remembered, and honored in the same way Gold Star Mothers are. The families communed and shared lunch immediately thereafter.

  • Fathers in attendance always express gratitude for the chance to publicly express their feelings about losing their loved ones, acknowledging this as an opportunity routinely provided to mothers but rarely to fathers. They also value the chance to share a space to connect and form a support system with other men experiencing similar feelings of loss. Military resources related to survivor outreach assistance and benefits are also shared during the event. During each event, many fathers and their families attest that they did not realize some of these services were even available to them. As a courtesy, Rep. Burnough has covered the parking fees for each father in attendance.

  • In January, 2019, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators ratified Resolution MVA-19-20 (https://nbcsl.org/public-policy/docs/file/179-resolution-mva-19-20.html) recognizing Gold Star Fathers’ Day on November 9 annually in all states. This resolution will serve as a policy framework for caucus members to implement in their respective states.

  • On November 15, 2019, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) and Congressman Rob Woodall (GA-07) introduced the bipartisan House Resolution 706 (https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/706), which will designate November 9 as “Gold Star Father’s Day” nationally.

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