City of San Jose Honors Gold Star and Blue Star Families on National Day of Service and Remembrance on Anniversary of 9/11
(SAN JOSE, September 12) Mayor Chuck Reed and Members of the San Jose City Council hosted a special reception to honor the sacrifices and service of families who have lost loved ones in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or who have family members now serving there.
The reception was attended by more than 50 Gold Star and Blue Star families, veterans and community leaders as part of the new National Day of Service and Remembrance that part of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act that was signed by President Obama in April of this year.
"We must always remember those who perished on September 11, 2001, and the firemen and police officers who lost their lives in an effort to rescue survivors that day, but we must also acknowledge the courage and commitment of those who were deployed in the wake of the 9/11 attack, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country," said Reed. Reed is a Vietnam era veteran whose daughter and son-in-law are both decorated fighter pilots who served in Iraq.
Reed was joined by City Council Member Rose Herrera, also a Vietnam era veteran, to announce an official proclamation honoring the Gold Star and Blue Star families, and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
We hope that this reception in honoring the memory of these young heroes, and their families, will become an annual tradition and that other cities and communities across our country might follow our example by hosting similar tributes in future years so that America never forgets the debt that we owe to those who serve, ôsaid Herrera, whose office provided funding in support of the event.
Diane Layfield and Ken Estep, who both lost sons in Iraq, spoke movingly of how important it was to them to know that their community would continue to remember their children. Layfield and Estep produced short videos to honor the lives of their loved ones as part of the Stories of the Fallen Project, a nonprofit community initiative started in 2005.
"No one who has not lost a child in war can really understand what it is like," said Layfield. "Sharing our stories of our loved ones helps us heal by reassuring us that their sacrifices will never be forgotten."
Stories of the Fallen is part of Stories of Service, an award winning program that mobilizes youth and adult volunteers to document the lives of veterans of World War II and other eras, supported by donations from the AMVETS California Service and Rehabilitation Foundation, the History Channel, U-Haul, and Southwest Airlines. website
Stories of Service is a program of the Digital Clubhouse Network, a nonprofit organization established with the support of NASA in 1996, to develop innovative ways of using digital technology to benefit society. website
Proclamation from City of San Jose
Presented September 11, 2009 at Gold Star/Blue Star Family Reception