LITTLE CHUTE, Wis. (WFRV)-Some of our military members make the ultimate sacrifice when they are killed in action fighting for our country and it’s important to honor their families as well.
For Debra Wenzel, Sunday evening’s event is deeply personal.
“When you’re with a group of people who have walked down the same dark valley, you don’t have to explain yourself they just understand,” says Wenzel.
Her son served in the national guard and was 19 years old when he passed away. Since he was a member of the military, but wasn’t killed in action Debra is considered an honorary gold star mother.
“The gold star families who have lost their kids in combat have taken me under their wing and accepted me as one of their own,” says Wenzel.
“The soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice and these parents have done the same thing by giving up their son or their daughter so they need to be remembered and they need to be honored,” says Marty Huss who is the commander of American Legion Post 258.
The event included patriotic music and a solemn ceremony with speeches, a gun salute, and the playing of ‘Taps.’ Organizers also lit candles and arranged them into the shape of a giant gold star.
They also honored the 13 American service members who lost their lives in the attack on the Kabul airport in August. Three local gold star families also got to light candles in rememberance of their loved ones.
The event was part of a nationwide effort to honor gold star families on the last Sunday of September. This is the third year that Little Chute has hosted the event.
“We are brothers and sisters not by blood but through blood,” says Wenzel.
In a happy coincidence, the ceremony ended with a sunset that almost looked red, white, and blue.
The tradition to honor gold star families on the last weekend of September began with a presidential proclamation from Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936.