CHICAGO – September 30, 2012. Today Gold Star Banners were presented to 12 Illinois mothers whose sons and daughters died in combat while serving their country in the Global War on Terror. More than 170 members of Illinois’ Gold Star families who lost family members on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001 attended the ceremony at Chicago’s Cultural Center.
The ceremony, which was co-sponsored by the USO of Illinois, marked Gold Star Mother’s Day. The day has been commemorated on the last Sunday in September since President Franklin Roosevelt declared the first Gold Star Mother’s Day in 1936. On Aug. 16, 2009, Governor Quinn signed legislation to formally designate Gold Star Mothers Day in Illinois. A list of the 2012 Illinois Gold Star recipients is attached.
“While we gather every September to honor Gold Star mothers, our work to honor the sacrifices of our service men and women never stops,” Governor Quinn said. “Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation and their families will never be forgotten.”
Presenting Gold Stars to mothers is an American tradition dating back to 1918, at the end of World War I. At that time, President Woodrow Wilson suggested that instead of wearing conventional mourning black from head to toe, families of men and women who had died in service to their country should wear a black armband with a gold star to signify their loss and their pride. Bereaved families also displayed Gold Star banners – gold stars on a white background with a wide red border – in the windows of their homes.
Verizon Wireless co-sponsored the Illinois 2012 Gold Star ceremony for the sixth straight year along with the American Legion and the VFW. Starwood Hotels and American Airlines provided the travel and accommodations for the out of town guests.
Erica Borggren, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs was joined by Wayne Wagner, State Commander, American Legion; Bill Wolff, Past State Commander, VFW, Alison Ruble, President and COO of the USO Illinois, John Bartosiewicz, President, Illinois Freedom Run and Linda Kozma, Chairwoman, American Airline Veteran Military Employee Resource Group.
2012 Gold Star Recipients
||U.S. Navy CDR Dan Shanower
||U.S. Marine Corps CPL Jonathan S. Beatty
||U.S. Army Corps CPL Jacob C. Palmatier
||U.S. Army SSG Alexander Crackel
||U.S. Army SPC Ashley Sietsema
||U.S. Army SPC Christopher P. Sweet
||U.S. Marine Corps LCPL Nickolas A. Daniels
||U.S. Army SSG Jonathan M. Metzger
||U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Nathan R. McHone
||U.S. Marine Corps CPL Conner T. Lowry
||U.S. Army 1LT Daniel A. Weiss
||U.S. Marine Corps CPL Alex Martinez
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