Families who have lost a loved one during military service now have a new memorial at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. Known as “Gold Star” families, they were honored on National Gold Star Mother’s Day, the last Sunday of September annually.
A new Gold Star memorial, funded by the Bowmansville Garden Club, recognizes the sacrifice all families with loved ones serving in the military endure. The Park held a special ceremony Sunday to unveil the new marker and pay tribute to fallen heroes.
“The families who have joined us here today, as well as many more across Western New York and beyond, have suffered the ultimate grief, while their sons, daughters or family members gave us the ultimate sacrifice,” said Park executive Director Brian Roche. “This marker now displayed here on the Veterans Promenade will remind passersby — including the visitors we receive annually from all 50 states, and over 100 countries — of these sacrifices. We hope it will cause them to pause, reflect and express some form of gratitude to you and your loved ones for all you have given us and all you have endured.”
An invocation was led by Gold Star Mother Holly Baker of Springville, whose stepson U.S. Army Specialist Brian Baker, 10th Mountain Division, was killed in action in 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Blue Star military service flag was first created during World War I by a father to recognize his two sons battling in the front line of duty. It features a red border and white interior with a blue star in the center.
In more recent years, the Gold Star flag was developed, following the same design. It is hung during wartime to recognize the families of those who have lost loved ones through their military service.