Joint Region Marianas observes Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day

by Commander, Joint Region Marianas
U.S. Navy

ASAN, Guam – Joint Region Marianas (JRM) hosted a ceremony in commemoration of Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day at the command headquarters in Asan, Guam Sept. 29.

Gold Star families are those of service members who were killed in action during conflict. In 1936, Congress proclaimed the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother’s Day, which was amended by President Barack Obama in 2009 to include families.

Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, JRM commander, addressed family members during the ceremony and thanked them for their loved ones’ service and sacrifice.

“I’d like to express my heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the Gold Star families not only for your time, but especially for the service and sacrifice that your loved ones did making the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” she said.

Bolivar said that were it not for those who risked their lives fighting to protect our country and freedoms, we would not be who we are today. “It is because of our fallen heroes, those who did make the sacrifice during Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, it is because of them that we stand here today,” she said. “We stand here from free tyranny and fear.”

Dorothy Lukeala, mother of the late Army Sgt. Joshua Lukeala, shared her son’s life story and love of the military with attendees and thanked the command and community for their support of Gold Star families. “It’s not for myself, it’s for my son Joshua,” she said. “We are very happy about (the support). It’s a good event because it’s to honor our loved ones.”

Joshua Lukeala was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. He died June 7, 2010, from wounds suffered during the explosion.

“I just don’t want him to be forgotten,” she said. “The greatest casualty I think is them being forgotten.”

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