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Blumenthal & Ernst Introduce Bill to Establish “Gold Star” Stamp, Honoring the Sacrifice of Families Who Have Lost a Loved One in Combat

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – To reaffirm and revive our nation’s longstanding commitment to Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Families, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced legislation to re-issue the “Gold Star” stamp recognizing and honoring families who have lost a child or family member in service to the nation. The U.S. Post Office Department first issued a stamp honoring Gold Star Mothers in 1948.

“Gold Star Families are national heroes. Their extraordinary contribution is beyond measure – not merely for their loss, but the comfort they selflessly provide others, and their model of service and sacrifice,” Blumenthal said. “Their strength, courage, resolve, and resilience are remarkable beyond words. Reissuing the Gold Star Stamp is a small token of our gratitude that will serve as a constant reminder of their sacrifice.”

“There is no greater grief than losing a child, spouse, or family member, and no greater sacrifice a family can make than losing their family member in service to our country,” said Ernst. “Gold Star Families carry both of these incredible burdens every day. In my home state of Iowa, the Sullivan family of Waterloo lost five sons in 1942 when an enemy torpedo sank the cruiser all five were on during World War II. To honor their five sons’ courage and sacrifice, Mrs. Sullivan became the first recipient of the Gold Star Mothers commemorative stamps in 1948. Today, we carry on that tradition by reintroducing the Gold Star Families commemorative stamp so that we may all have the opportunity to demonstrate our profound appreciation and respect for our fallen servicemembers’ families, and their sacrifices to our country.”

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed into law legislation establishing the first Gold Star Mothers stamp. The original Gold Star Mothers stamp became available on September 21, 1948. The first sheet of stamps were presented to Mrs. Thomas F. Sullivan of Waterloo, Iowa, who lost five sons when an enemy torpedo sank the cruiser Juneau on November 13, 1942.

“It has been nearly 70 years since the release of the first and only postage stamp honoring Gold Star Families and remembering their personal family sacrifices. Creation of the Gold Star Families Forever Stamp will help education the general public that freedom is not free,” said Candy Martin, National President of American Gold Star Mothers.

Because the Gold Star Mothers stamp was designated as a special series commemorative stamp, rather than a permanent stamp, it was eventually discontinued. In 1993, a “Gold Star Loss” stamp was issued as part of a series of stamps marking the 50th anniversary of World War II.

Blumenthal wrote Postmaster General Megan Brennan in August to urge the United States Postal Service to reissue the stamp after he was contacted with the idea by constituent Joseph (Joe) Kaliko, of Greenwich, Connecticut. Although the Postmaster General has the authority to issue a stamp, Congress may also approve the issuance of specific stamps, leading to the introduction of this legislation. The full text of Blumenthal’s letter is available here.

This is the second piece of legislation Blumenthal has introduced this week to honor the sacrifice of Gold Star Families. Blumenthal also introduced legislation to expand the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project to allow for the sharing of information on the lives of servicemembers who are missing in action or who have died as a result of their service. The Gold Star Families Voices Act would allow the parents, spouses, siblings and children of servicemembers who are missing or killed in action to participate in the VHP by telling the stories of their loved ones.