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Gold Stars: Remembering the Fallen, Honoring their Survivors

Chris Wagoner
Chris Wagoner - 270 Views
Published on 28 May 2011 / In News and Politics

Donna Engeman started wearing the Gold Star lapel pin after her husband, Chief Warrant Officer John Engeman, was killed southeast of Baghdad on May 14, 2006. She wanted to honor and remember the man she admired as "Superman." But she soon realized the significance of the star was lost on others. Not long after his death, she tried to order a Gold Star license plate at the DMV. The clerk unknowingly asked if Engeman was the service member. When she replied no, she was not, the clerk told Engeman her husband needed to be with her. The clerk thought she wanted a disabled veteran license plate, and Engeman couldn't get her to understand the difference between a Gold Star and a Purple Heart - an awkward conversation, indeed. They were both relieved when she left. Awkward too, when people say, "I love that pin, it goes so well with your outfit." Or when they ask, "Where do you get one?" "It's funny and ironic" Engeman said. "You want people to know about their sacrifice, but you don't want to stand there and grab someone by the collar and yell, 'He's dead!' So you just walk away, shake your head and eat some chocolate. That's when I get mad at him all over again and say, 'You left me with this.'" It's a feeling many Gold Star Survivors know, and unfortunately, her experience is not an isolated one. She's seen that, despite being at war for nearly a decade, even many military personnel still don't know what a Gold Star signifies. ATTENTION!! We are moving! Because of YouTube's new policy against military related videos and on where advertisers are allowed to put their Ads, we must move our videos.

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