Children of Fallen Patriots Day
The Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) sadly acknowledges that in war, casualties are more than only those who die. Those left behind are casualties in a different way, but are forever changed by the moment of their loved one’s death. This is especially true for the children who lose their Military Member parent.
These children are colloquially called “Gold Star Children” or “Gold Star Kids,” referring to the banner with a gold star on a white background that families who made the ultimate sacrifice can hang in their windows.
According to Children of Fallen Patriots, a nonprofit formed in 2002 to aid families who have lost a loved one in the military, approximately 25,000 children have lost an active-duty parent over the last 35 years. 97% of casualties are men, leaving behind single mothers to care for their families. Of those families, 60% report having trouble making ends meet. An astounding statistic is that 63% of people who have lost an active-duty family member make less than $50,000 per year; that includes spouses but also the children of fallen service members as well.
Organizations like CFP and Gold Star Kids help bridge that gap for families whose Military Member died in combat, military training exercises, duty-related illnesses or from suicide, among other conditions. They provide counseling and long-term educational advising. They also provide scholarships to college, as many children of fallen patriots have difficulty finishing high school and/or affording college. As the founder of CFP, David Kim says, “We believe that one of the best ways we can honor our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country is to invest in the future of those they loved most in the world — their children. A college education is the key to a bright future for any child.”
Twenty-seven states agree that more people need to have an awareness of children of fallen patriots, and they have pushed for legislation to make May 13 an official day of remembrance. Texas is not yet among those states. So, for now, this date is an unofficial remembrance, but one that the VLB feels is vital to the well-being of our Armed Forces. We salute the sacrifice of these children, and honor them by remembering.
The VLB is happy to provide any needed help for these American heroes. The mission for the VLB is “to ensure that we offer the very best package of Veterans benefits in the country and those of us who work for the VLB strive to meet those goals every day. For more than 70 years, we have had the honor to serve Veterans, Military Members and their families in Texas, and we look forward to keeping that promise in the years to come.” Call 1–800–252–8387, email VLBinfo@glo.texas.gov, or visit vlb.texas.gov to see the different benefits available.
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