Forever a Military Family: Gold Star Spouses and Kids

2023 Gold Star Spouses Day

Gold Star Spouses Day is a designated day to honor the surviving loved ones of military service members. The first observance day was in 2010; by 2013, our nation recognized April 5 as the day to remember. At the National Military Family Association, this pledge to remember spouses and children of fallen service members has been our mission for more than 50 years. Our Association founders were compelled to act for their widowed friends in 1969, and that compulsion continues to carry through in all the work we do for military families.

As our years of advocacy and outreach continue, our Association remembers and honors the early inspiration that moved our hearts and minds into action—to stand up and support all military families.

Through Loss Came Community

For Theresa Moore Castro and her son, Gold Star Spouses Day, is more than a day that honors their fallen hero. It is a day that reminds them of their resiliency and community.

“Gold Star families learn to adapt to a new reality without our loved one being physically present,” she shared. “Our community provides a space where people who have gone through similar losses can grieve openly, as well as find resources that assist us in moving forward while still remembering our loved ones and their sacrifice.”

Theresa’s husband, Army Sgt. Jesse Castro was killed in action at the height of the Iraq war. She had delivered their first and only child, Jesse, two weeks before his passing. He never got to hold the son named after him. Entering a new reality with a newborn, Theresa was grateful for what was being done for her and similar families.

“In 2006, the services and resources provided were minimal, and widows had to navigate through a system that was not equipped to handle all the needs,” she recalled. “However, being from Guam, we are unique and established a tight-knit community among the families, military personnel, and outreach coordinators. We try to find out what is lacking and what works for families who have gone through such tragedies. It’s still a work in progress, but we have come a long way and are extremely grateful.”

Military Family Forever

Theresa’s words ring true for many military families that desire community, resources, and a voice to be heard. NMFA knows all military families, Gold Star families included, are military families forever. Our programming, such as Operation Purple® Camp and Military Spouse Scholarships, remain open to children and spouses of fallen service members.

Understanding military families is key to everything we do at NMFA. Our unwavering commitment to supporting military families through empowering them in their communities and supporting their well-being, it reignites us during times like this, honoring Gold Star Spouses and Kids, and it will sustain us for another 50 years.

By: Angela Sablan Tenorio, Content Manager