CHARLESTON, S.C. –
May is designated "Gold Star Family Awareness" month to focus attention on families in the Gold Star Program. It is no coincidence that efforts to increase awareness of Gold Star Survivors occur during the same month with a day specifically set aside for remembering lost servicemen and women - Memorial Day.
The Gold Star Program serves to assure Gold Star Families that their deceased service members are not forgotten. Additionally, the Gold Star Program delivers on the Department of Defense's commitment to those families by providing long term support and services.
The Air Force is now allowing airmen to pin the Gold Star Lapel Button or the Next of Kin of Deceased Personnel Lapel Button on their Air Force dress coats, mess dress and service dress uniforms. The lapel buttons will be centered below the U.S. insignia on the widest portion of the left lapel of the service coat. If authorized, the gold star lapel button and the next of kin lapel button should be worn side by side; there is no order of precedence between the buttons.
Gold Star Families are part of Joint Base Charleston and the surrounding communities. Some choose to remain anonymous while others wear the Gold Star Pin to honor their loved one. All are proud of their spouses, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters or siblings service to the country.
The pins are 16mm in diameter and come in two forms.
The Gold Star Lapel Pin consists of a gold star on a purple background, bordered in gold and surrounded by gold laurel leaves. It is designated for eligible Survivors of Service members who lose their lives while fighting in a hostile conflict.
The Next of Kin Lapel Pin consists of a gold star within a circle that commemorates the member's honorable service. The gold star is also surrounded by sprigs of oak that represent the branches of the Armed Forces. It is designated for eligible Survivors of Service members who lose their lives while serving honorably under any other circumstances other that war (retroactive to March 29, 1973).