Honoring our Gold Star Mothers and Survivors

By 2nd Lt. Christian Ferrer | Sept. 27, 2016

FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico — Fort Buchanan Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) conducted a Gold Star Mothers & Survivors Memorial event at Fort Buchanan’s Chapel on September 25th.

Col. Michael T. Harvey, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Buchanan commander, thanked the surviving family members for their attendance. “I want to thank everyone who is present today for their support to this very important event,” said Harvey. “Gold Star Mothers and Survivors Day gives us the opportunity to remember and honor fallen service members, and acknowledge the enormous burden their Families continue to carry.”

Harvey emphasizes on the strong mothers who continue to support the military community after their loss. “Despite their loss, these mothers carry forward their child’s legacy, patriotism, bravery and courage,” explained Harvey. “They are the bedrock of support and comfort to fellow survivors, setting examples of inspiration and resilience with those who share their unique problems.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Luis A. Rosario, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Buchanan Command Sgt. Maj., felt overwhelmed by the presence of so many surviving family members during his speech. “I feel nervous standing here thinking of what to say,” expressed Rosario, “there is nothing I can say that will bring your loved ones back.”

Rosario took a moment to remember one of his fallen brothers, who lost his life on July 16, 2003. “I remember how difficult it was for us to overcome that loss,” said Rosario, “but I know it was even more difficult for his wife and children, I want to thank them for staying strong and for their support.”

The folding of the U.S. flag and the playing of Taps, was performed by the Puerto Rico National Guard and 1st Mission Support Command Soldiers, US Army Reserve Puerto Rico. Taps was played during the folding of the U.S. Flag to honor all of our Fallen Members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Gold Star Service Flag is displayed in memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our Nation. This is a white rectangular flag field bordered in red, with a gold star superimposed over a larger blue star so that the blue forms a border. The Blue Star Service Flag is a white rectangular field bordered in red, with a blue star or stars arranged horizontally.

Maj. Wanda Acevedo, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Buchanan Chaplain, mentioned the importance of three words that will help the surviving families continue with their journey of making the world a better place. “The reasons of why we are here today are faith, hope and love,” said Acevedo. “We must continue to do everything within our power to make the difference in this world just like our loved ones did when they gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Quilts were given to the Families who lost their loved ones during Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom, the purpose of these quilts is to bring comfort to the surviving Families. These quilts were created by 18 quilters from Nebraska and Iowa with guidance from the National Home of the Brave Quilts project. Quilts are adorned with hope messages and signatures of the quilters and their Families to support the survivors. These quilts are replicas from the ones created for the wounded Soldiers during the civil war in 1861.

The material used for these quilts are civil war reproduction fabrics along with faith, hope and support fabrics. They are called healing quilts, blessed with hugs and spirit prayers. A volunteered organization called “The U.S. Sanitary Commission” was created to donate supply and raise funds for the caring of the injured Soldiers.

Approximately 140 surviving family members were present during the Fort Buchanan Gold Star Mothers & Survivors Memorial event.

Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) is an Army Community Service program designed to provide short-term and long-term support for the Survivors of Fallen Soldiers. SOS connects Family members with people who can help them cope with their loss. This program embraces and reassures Survivors that they are continually linked to the Army Family for as long as they desire. Mr. Edwin Ramos-Jourdan and Mr. Angel L. Castro are the SOS Support coordinators on Fort Buchanan.

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