Gold Star Pins:
Everything You Need to Know
“All gave some. Some gave all.”
The Gold Star Lapel Button and the Lapel Button for Next of Kin of Deceased Personnel officially represent a military loss. They are presented to the surviving family members of our brave men and women who die while on active military duty in service to our nation.
The families of service members who made the ultimate sacrifice deserve our respect, gratitude, and the very best support we can provide. It is an honor and a privilege to maintain this site as a way to assist, inform, honor, educate, and support the memory of those who gave everything in service to our nation.
Symbols of Honor
When you see someone wearing either the Gold Star or Next of Kin Lapel Button, know that he or she has lost a loved one who selflessly served our nation.
Please explore our site to learn more about what you can do to remember, respect, and honor our fallen service members and their surviving families who wear the Gold Star or Next of Kin Lapel Buttons.
Where Did Gold Star Pins Come From?
Since World War I, a gold star has been the symbol used to identify and commemorate family members who have lost a loved one in war.
The Gold Star lapel pin that is in use today was established by an Act of Congress on August 1, 1947 (Public Law 80-306 Chapter 426), as the officially recognized symbol to identify widows, parents, and next of kin of US military service members killed in military operations, as defined by the law.
“Over 7,000 United States service members have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since the onset of “the global war on terror” which unofficially began Sept. 11, 2001.
More than 16,000 have died of other causes in that time. Gold Star families have borne the losses, and Defense Department officials want Americans – especially those serving in the department – to understand what the Gold Star lapel pin and Next of Kin lapel pins mean.”~ Department of Defense
While the law was enacted in 1947, it is retroactively inclusive of all service members killed in World War I (April 6, 1917, to March 3, 1921) and World War II (September 8, 1939, to July 25, 1947).
In accordance with section 1126, title 10, United States Code, “Gold star lapel button: eligibility and distribution,” the Gold Star Lapel Button is provided by the Secretary of the Military Department concerned to identify widows, parents and next-of-kin of members of the U.S. Armed Forces who lost their lives:
- engaged in an action against a U.S. enemy; or
- engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
- serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict in which the U.S. is not a belligerent party against an opposing armed force; or
- an international terrorist attack against the U.S. or a foreign nation friendly to the U.S., recognized as an attack by the Secretary of the Military Department concerned; or
- military operations while serving outside the U.S. (including the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the U.S.), as part of a peacekeeping force.
Helpful Resources For Widows, Families, & Survivors:
- A Soldier’s Child Foundation
- American Red Cross
- American Widow Project
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Armed Forces Services Corporation
- Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association
- Bereavement Counseling (VA)
- Blue Star Mothers of America
- Children of Fallen Patriots
- Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund
- Defense Finance and Accounting Service
- Department of Defense Websites
- Department of Veterans Affairs: Apply for and manage the VA benefits and services you’ve earned as a Veteran, Servicemember, or family member—like health care, disability, education, and much more.
- Folds of Honor
- Folded Flag Foundation
- Gold Star Awareness
- Gold Star Dads
- Gold Star Mothers
- Gold Star Wives of America
- Got Your Back Network
- Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
- Military Connection
- Military Funeral Honors
- Military OneSource
- National Association of County Veterans Service Officers
- National Resource Directory
- Office of Survivors Assistance (VA)
- Operation HomeFront
- Operation Protect Veterans
- Operation We Are Here – Grief Support
- Purple Heart
- Service Flags
- Snowball Express
- Social Security Administration
- Society of Military Widows
- The Michael Strange Foundation: The Michael Strange Foundation provides unconditional support and services to families of recently fallen service members so that the healing process can begin. Services are provided by professionals in several fields and also by those who have suffered similar losses.
- Thrift Savings Plan
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S.)
- USO – Support For Families of the Fallen
- Veteran Mentor Network
- Veterans’ Wives International Network
- Women Veterans Connect
About Gold Star Legal Funding
Gold Star Legal Funding is a disabled veteran-owned, nationwide lawsuit funding company. We proudly support GoldStarPins.org and the Gold Star Pins program, as well as many other veteran-owned and veteran support organizations.
Gold Star provides non-recourse lawsuit funding (often called lawsuit loans or settlement funding) to injured plaintiffs involved in personal injury and employment lawsuits. Some of our most popular personal injury loans are car accident loans and workers comp loans.
The financing we provide is non-recourse, which means a plaintiff is only required to repay their advance if they win their case. If they lose or their case doesn’t settle, they owe us nothing.
In addition to legal funding, Gold Star also provides litigation finance support to lawyers, including law firm funding and post-settlement attorney funding. We also buy structured settlements and offer inheritance loans to heirs and beneficiaries.