July 22, 2010
Posted: 09:22 AM ET
As the Executive Director of Families United, I have seen first-hand the impact Gold Star programs have on America’s military families. Having experienced the loss of close friends myself, I know there is nothing more vital than a supportive and understanding network of individuals to stand by your side as you honor your Hero. The Weekend of Remembrance is a time for Gold Star Families to come together and share their stories. It’s a time to meet other families who understand the heroic loss of a loved one, it’s a time for reflection as well as celebration – for the lives they lived and the story of their dedicated service to our country.
The 2010 Weekend of Remembrance will be the nation’s largest gathering of Gold Star families, with 1,300 expected to attend from across the country. One of the most common things I hear from families is their need to find a network of others who understand their loss. Our goal at Families United is to create just that – a system of support for the families that have made the ultimate sacrifice.
We work hard to ensure the weekend is a delicate balance between honoring loved ones we’ve lost and celebrating lives. Having the Vice Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff speak to the families is an honor, and we are thrilled that Wayne Newton will perform for them, especially since he has entertained troops in every major confrontation our country has been in since Vietnam, and he was the first performer to entertain our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Saturday morning will be a somber moment, when we visit Arlington Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and families visit Section 60, the section of the cemetery with loved-ones who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Later, we shift to celebration during the American Heroes Festival at Six Flags America, where families will enter on a red carpet, through a full salute honor guard, for a day full of live music, exciting rides, and family fun. Gold Star families will be joined by active duty military and their families, veterans, supporters and guests, and country music stars Aaron Tippin and Mike Corrado will perform an exclusive concert.
We are thankful for the help and support of so many great Americans and sponsors who are donating their time and talents to make the Weekend possible. If you would like to sponsor a Gold Star Family’s participation, you can do it at www.weekendofremembrance.com. There is no better way to support our country, than to remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
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