CHICAGO – September 26, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today presented Gold Star Banners to 22 Illinois mothers whose sons and daughters died in combat while serving their country in the Global War on Terror. More than 70 members of Illinois’ Gold Star families who lost family members on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001 attended the ceremony at Chicago’s Navy Pier.
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 the fourth Sunday in September as Gold Star Mothers Day in Illinois. A list of the 2010 Illinois Gold Star recipients is attached.
“Gold Star Mother’s Day honors those whose sons or daughters gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said Governor Quinn. “It is important that everyone in our state takes this opportunity to express our reverence and respect for these patriotic families and their loss.”
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 also co-sponsored the Illinois 2010 Gold Star ceremony for the fourth straight year.
Governor Quinn was joined at the ceremony by Dan Grant, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs; Major Gen. William Enyart, Commander of the Illinois National Guard and Patti Smith of Blue Star Mothers Illinois. Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein recited the poem “To Illinois’ Gold Star Mothers.”
2010 Gold Star Recipients
Willa "Netha" Morgan
U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew W. Weikert
U.S. Army Sgt. Jesse R. Tilton
U.S. Army PFC. Gunnar R. Hotchkin
U.S. Air Force Sen. Airman Bradley Smith
U.S. Army Sgt. Albert Ware
U.S. Army Specialist Christopher Talbert
U.S. Army Sgt. Paul G. Smith
U.S. Army Cpl. Demetrius Rice
U.S. Army PFC. David John Badie
U.S. Army National Guard Gerrick D. Smith
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Christopher J. Boyd
U.S. Marine Corps LCpl. Robert J. Newton
U.S. Army PFC Shawn C. Edwards
U.S. Navy Fireman Jack B. Valentine
U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Esbaugh
U.S. Army Sgt. Anibal Santiago
U.S. Army Cpl. Francis Trussel
U.S. Army Private Timothy Crislip
U.S. Navy PO 1st Class Jennifer Valdivia
U.S. Army Specialist Daniel Gresham
U.S. Army Specialist Christopher Sweet