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“VETERANS COMMEMORATIVES: A DAY IN HISTORY” – Gold Star Wives Day is April 5

Although the first Gold Star Wives Day was celebrated on December 18, 2010, in 2012 Senate passed a resolution designating April 5 as Gold Star Wives Day. The resolution was passed with support from the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides services and support to the spouses of fallen service members. More recently, Gold Wives Day became known as Gold Star Spouses Day. It is a day to honor those who lost a husband or wife while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and a day to raise awareness of the sacrifices their families have made for this country.

Five facts about Gold Star Wives

  1. Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the founding members of the Gold Star Wives.
  2. Marie Jordan Speer founded the Gold Star Wives organization in 1945.
  3. Gold Star Wives of America has more than 10,000 members around the country.
  4. April 5 is the anniversary of the first Gold Star Wives meeting.
  5. The Gold Star Wives sponsored many activities for the children and guided them as they formed an auxiliary of the organization called the Gold Star Sons and Daughters.

The symbol of the Gold Star dates back to 1918 when military families placed a service flag in their front window during the war. The white flag, bordered with red, featured a star for each family member who was in the service. A blue star indicated the family member was in active service while a gold star honored those killed in action. It wasn’t until 1947 that Congress approved the distribution of official Gold Star lapel buttons, as a symbol worn by service family members of the U.S. Armed Forces who lost their lives in war.

Veterans Commemoratives is proud to honor those who gave their lives serving our nation. On April 5 please join us in recognizing the sacrifices made by the Gold Star Spouses whose husbands and wives have died while serving in the U.S. military. Thank you.

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Honoring Our Military Children: April is the Month of the Military Child

Each year as we celebrate Veterans Day and Memorial Day, we pay our respects, and honor all of our military veterans. But have we ever thought about the children, whose mothers and fathers are bravely serving our nation?

“Month of the Military Child” was first celebrated in April 1986. At the time, Casper W. Weinberger, Secretary of Defense, realized that no one was recognizing the sacrifices made by the children of the military. He designated the month as a time for the military community to honor and celebrate the resilience and strength of these children. Since then, the Department of Defense has continued to honor his initiative. After its inception, there have been a growing number of activities on military bases and in local military communities. During the month special events are held for the children and their families.

To help build awareness of military families and to honor the children, Purple Up! Day was initiated in 2011. Although it was started by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension 4H Military Partnership, Purple Up! Day is now celebrated throughout the country and embraced by the Department of Defense.

Five Facts about Military Children

  1. The average military family moves three times more than a civilian family.
  2. There are approximately 1.7 million children of active military personnel.
  3. A common theme throughout the month is the color purple. This color was selected because it symbolizes all branches of the military.
  4. Since 2001 at least 2 million children have had a parent deployed at least once.
  5. The U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity operates 166 schools worldwide for military children.

As we show our appreciation to military children this month, Veterans Commemoratives also honors those who have served our country in the Armed Forces. Since 1987 Veterans Commemoratives has been proud to offer customized Service rings, watches and jackets featuring official War Memorials and Ribbons, Service and Career Emblems and Insignia.

A Continuing Tribute to All Vietnam War Era Veterans Who Served Our Country

In 2012 the President of the United States issued a proclamation declaring March 29 to be Vietnam Veterans Day, to annually honor and respect our Vietnam Veterans. The bill, currently in the process of being passed, honors the more than 3 million Americans who served during the Vietnam War era.

On January 12, 1962 Operation Chopper was the first time US Forces participated in the Vietnam War. Eleven years later the last US troops left Vietnam on March 29, 1973. Now, more than 55 years later, 42 states and Puerto Rico have designated either March 29 or March 30 as Vietnam Veterans Day, honoring all who answered the call to service during those contentious years.

Veterans Commemoratives has proudly recognized and honored Vietnam Veterans every day since 1987, by creating many commemorative watches, rings, apparel and works of art themed and highly personalized specifically for every Vietnam Veteran:

  • Our Vietnam Veteran MA-1 Bravo Jacket is inspired by the Historic MA-1 Flight Jacket. This unique jacket has been updated to meet NASA’s exacting specifications, and is available with Conceal Carry inner pockets for those licensed to carry a weapon. Special Vietnam War Veteran Woven Patches, American Flag Patches and exclusive “Proud to a Veteran” Zipper pulls further personalize each jacket. Military Service patches are also available, provided by officially licensed suppliers.
  • Our Vietnam Night Patrol Tactical Black Watch features a variety of customized Vietnam Veteran dials, including a Vietnam Service Medal and Ribbon, a Vietnam Veteran Ribbon & outline of Vietnam, and memorable original artwork of intense of Vietnam Battle Scenes. The case back of each watch is engraved with its owners initials, rank and years of service and presented in a special tin gift box.
  • Our Vietnam War Service Rings are custom made to order in America and feature the Official Vietnam Medal & Ribbon, a sculpted image of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, and Service Branch Emblems. Rings are further personalized with the owners’ Birthstones and initials and years of service engraved on the inner band.
  • Our Limited Edition commemorative Artplaques™ feature original artwork of a “Helicopter Drop” and a “Hot Landing Zone” authenticated with Vietnam Service and Campaign Medals and Ribbons in official colors.

Veterans Commemoratives is proud to join with all Americans to honor our Military Veterans who have bravely served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq – and those who stand ready today to protect our country and its allies throughout the world.

Celebrating Medal of Honor Recipients March 25 – National Medal of Honor Day

 “They said we were soft, that we would not fight, that we could not win. We are not a warlike nation. We do not go to war for gain or for territory; we go to war for principles, and we produce young men like these. I think I told every one of them that I would rather have that medal, the Congressional Medal of Honor, than to be President of the United States” – Harry S. Truman

Created in 1861, The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest military honor. Because it is given in the name of Congress, it is sometimes referred to as the “Congressional Medal of Honor.” It’s presented by the President to those in the U.S. armed forces for their personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. The first Medals of Honor were presented on March 25, 1863. On that day, Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, presented six Medals of Honor to members of “Andrews Raiders” for their participation during the Civil War.

Known as the Great Locomotive Chase, Andrews Raiders consisted of 22 men, including 2 civilians, led by General Mitchell. Their plan was to enter enemy territory in the South and capture a railroad train in Georgia and travel North in order to destroy bridges, railroad tracks and telegraph lines between Georgia and Chattanooga. This, they believed, would stop the Confederate’s supply lines to Chattanooga. Several in the mission were captured and some were executed. Six of those captured were released during a prisoner exchange. Although their mission did not receive the expected results, the participants were recognized for their bravery. The six men released during the prisoner exchange were the first Medal of Honor recipients.

Although first presented more than 150 years ago, it wasn’t until 1990 that Congress designated March 25 as National Medal of Honor Day. Today there are three versions of the Medal – one for the Army, one for the Navy, and one for the Air Force. Recipients from the Marines and U.S. Coast Guard are presented with the Navy version of the Medal of Honor. There have been 3,517 Medals of Honor presented since 1862.

Five Facts about the Medal of Honor

  1. Although it was awarded posthumously, Theodore Roosevelt was the only U.S. President to receive the Medal of Honor. Roosevelt quit his job as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to lead a volunteer regiment known as the Rough Riders when the Spanish-American War broke out. Although he was originally passed over for the Medal of Honor, President Clinton awarded him the medal in 2001.
  2. Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor. A medical doctor who volunteered with the U.S. Army during the Civil War, she was known to cross enemy lines to treat civilians and was believed to be a spy. Captured by the Confederates and later released during a prisoner exchange, Walker returned to duty. Although Andrew Johnson presented her with the Medal of Honor, it was rescinded when the eligibility requirements changed and Medals were only given to those in combat. The Army Board restored her Medal of Honor in 1977.
  3. Willie Johnston is the youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor. At just 11 years old, Johnston and his father enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War. A drummer boy with the 3rd Vermont Infantry, when his unit retreated under the direction of General McClellan, many threw down their guns. Johnston held onto his drum throughout the march. President Lincoln recommended that he receive the Medal of Honor in 1863. At the time he was just 13. More recently, John Lucas, a 17 year old Marine, was awarded the Medal of Honor after he shielded some of his squad from grenades at Iwo Jima.
  4. There are 19 members of the Armed Forces who have been honored with two Medals of Honor.
  5. The first Medal of Honor was presented to Private Jacob Parrott. The most recent Medal of Honor was presented to Sgt. Gary M. Rose in 2017.

On National Medal of Honor Day, Veterans Commemoratives, along with our entire nation, remembers and honors the courageous members of the U.S. Military who have been presented with the Medal of Honor. Since 1987 Veterans Commemoratives has been leading the way in honoring all of our Military Veterans with highly customized Military and War Service watches, rings, jackets and other accessories.

Honor Our Military Dogs: March 13th is K9 Veterans Day

“The guard dog was incorruptible; the police dog dependable; the messenger dog reliable. The human watchman might be bought; not so the dog. The soldier sentinel might fall asleep; never the dog. The battlefield runner might fail … but not the dog, to his last breath would follow the line of duty.” – Ernest Harold Baynes, Author of Animal Heroes of the Great War

The United States K9 Corps was created on March 13, 1942. Since that day, more than 30,000 brave dogs have helped save and protect our country. Although K9 Veterans Day is not an official holiday, it was initiated to commemorate all military dogs. Joe White, a Vietnam War Veteran as well as a K9 handler and trainer, initiated K9 Veterans Day. Although he died in 2009, his wife continues his cause to get nationwide recognition of this special day.

Although the use of dogs in the military didn’t take place in America until World War II, the United States first took notice of the European use of canines in the military during World War I. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor when men were joining the armed forces to serve our country, women became driven to help the cause as well. Alene Erlanger, one of these women, initiated Dogs for Defense. The group, which also consisted of several breeders, trained dogs for military use.

In November 1942 the first group of dogs were sent to North Africa. As World War II continued, demands were great for more military dogs. During the war more than 10,000 dogs were trained. Because Dogs for Defense found themselves unable to keep up with the demand, the Remount Branch, Services Installations Divisions of the Army began training the dogs.

One of the most well-known is Stubby, possibly the only military dog to receive the rank of sergeant. The most decorated dog of World War I, Sergeant Stubby, a bulldog mix, is considered the original war dog. He served with Colonel Robert Conroy of the 102nd Infantry Regiment in France. During his 18 months there, he warned his unit about artillery shells and gas attacks and caught a German spy. Stubby was injured twice and was personally decorated by General Pershing.

During the Vietnam War, where more than 4,000 dogs were deployed, scout dogs saved more than 2,000 lives. Because they proved to be such a valuable asset to the military, bounties of up to $20,000 were placed on their heads.

The 341st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio trains and assigns all dogs in the Military War Dog Program. After their training, the military dogs are then shipped to various military bases worldwide. At present time, there are nearly 3,000 courageous dogs serving in all branches of the U.S. Military.

Today, more than ever, military dogs are guarding our homeland, helping to keep our country, and what we stand for, safe. From Afghanistan to Ground Zero, military dogs are working every day with police, customs, border patrols, airports and the Secret Service wherever they are needed to protect our nation. Veterans Commemoratives (vetcom.com) is proud to honor these canine heroes.

A Day in History: March 5th Is the Navy Seabees 76th Anniversary

On March 5, 1942, the Navy Seabees were officially formed. Formally named Naval Construction Battalions, the Seabees were formed because of the need for base construction during World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the civilians who had been doing construction for the Navy were no longer permitted to work overseas. International law prohibited civilians from fighting the enemy in combat zones, therefore if they were to defend themselves they would not be protected by the Geneva Convention.

On January 5, 1942 a request was granted to form a unit of construction specialists who could defend themselves and the construction site if attacked. This unit of approximately 250 individuals consisted of highly skilled construction workers and engineers. The Seabees were unique to the military, with an average age of 34, well above the draft age. Although many most likely had good civilian jobs, they chose to serve their country by bringing their skills to the war effort.

The first battalion was deployed to Bora Bora. The men initially called the battalion “Bobcats” after the code name BOBCAT, which was given to the island of Bora Bora. On March 5 the official nickname “Seabee” was given to all the personnel of the Naval Construction Battalions. The name Seabee was taken from the first two letters of the words “construction battalions.” They were also given the motto “Construimus Batuimus” – “We Build, We Fight.”

After December 1942 President Roosevelt halted voluntary enlistment into the Seabees. Men for the Construction Battalions had to be obtained through the Selective Service System. By the end of World War II, approximately 325,000 men served in the Seabees.

The Seabees took part in every island invasion in the Pacific during World War II, building roads, camps and airstrips, as well as underwater construction. Their construction as well as their fighting took place on six continents and more than 300 islands during the war. They eventually participated in building an artificial harbor in Normandy right after the invasion.

As we celebrate the Seabee’s birthday, Veteran’s Commemoratives (vetcom.com) honors those who have been a part of the Seabees, as well as Veterans of all of our armed forces. We are proud to provide a large selection of customized jackets, rings and watches.

This Day in History: The Star-Spangled Banner

“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave/O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave” – Francis Scott Key

Although the lyrics were originally written as a poem in 1814, it wasn’t until March 3, 1931 that President Herbert Hoover signed the congressional resolution that made “The Star-Spangled Banner” our country’s national anthem.

Francis Scott Key wrote the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry” on September 14, 1814 after he witnessed the British ships in the Chesapeake Bay bombing Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. During the battle he and fellow attorney John Stuart Skinner were aboard a British ship on a truce mission to make a prisoner exchange for Dr. William Beanes. Inspired by the flag that flew victoriously above the fort after the Americans had won the battle, he wrote the poem which was later set to music by John Stafford Smith to the tune of a popular British song. It was eventually renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The lyrics were first printed in the Baltimore Patriot and The American on September 20, 1814. The song quickly became popular and 17 additional newspapers printed it. The first public performance of the song took place in October at a tavern in Baltimore.

First recognized in 1889 for official use by the U.S. Navy, it was later recognized in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, who ordered the song to be played at military and other political functions. In 1930, the Veterans of Foreign War started a petition for the US to officially recognize “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the country’s national anthem. Prior to 1931, “My Country, Tis of Thee,” America the Beautiful,” “Yankee Doodle” and “Hail, Columbia” were the patriotic songs used at official functions in the U.S.

Five Fast Facts about “The Star-Spangled Banner”

  • First printed in Baltimore, only two known copies of the poem are believed to exist today.
  • Performing the national anthem at every baseball game began during World War II.
  • Known today for writing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key was a successful attorney whose poems were previously shared only with close family and friends.
  • The Star-Spangled Banner flag, with its 15 stars and 15 stripes, is on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
  • Originally written with four verses, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a fifth verse in 1861 to support the Union cause in the Civil War. All four original verses end with “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” as well as other patriotic songs like “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” honor our nation and the freedom it represents. Veterans Commemoratives (vetcom.com) honors our Veterans who have helped to preserve the strength and unity of our nation and proudly honors our flag by sending each customer a free American Flag lapel pin with each purchase.