That Gold Star Family Day Law (p. 3734) is a bill in Congress proposing to create a new federal holiday.
With the passage of legislation introducing the new holiday of June 16 in 2021, a number of new holidays have been proposed in Congress.
Politics and politicians often lead to seeking publicity, especially when it comes to a non-controversial issue. Proposing new federal holidays has become a new way of advertising, recognizing events or people worthwhile, and putting a congressman’s name on favorable legislation.
That is understandable; Being in Congress is often a lifetime job full of benefits. Being a member of Congress is also often a key to wealth — the majority of congressmen are millionaires — and the position allows one to wallow in flattery, publicity, and perks from those seeking favors from our federal government.
Also, some in Congress are people who genuinely want to help create and maintain a government that allows us to enjoy personal liberty.
As mentioned in OpenSecrets.org:
Much of the wealth in Congress is concentrated at the top. The top 10 percent of the wealthiest legislators have three times the wealth of the bottom 90 percent. While some lawmakers are still paying off student loans, others are paying off their third or fourth mortgage. The group of wealthiest members includes career politicians who have built their portfolios over decades in Congress and recently elected lawmakers.
Proposed federal holidays
June 19 is now recognized as a federal holiday on June 19 every year, unless that date falls on a weekend and Americans would not take a day off to celebrate the holiday.
June 19, 2021 was the 156th anniversary of the liberation of the last African American slaves in Texas. It was the first federal holiday to be approved since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 415 to 14.
Here are other holidays now proposed in Congress:
What does the Gold Star Families Day Act commemorate?
Senator Elizabeth Warren (DMA) presented this Gold Star Family Day Law. That bill proposed establishing an annual federal holiday on the last Monday in September to honor the families of those who lost their lives in the armed forces.
She wrote in a press release:
Gold Star families make incredible sacrifices for our country and that’s why I’m introducing them [the legislation] to honor and respect the painful sacrifice that continually lives with the families of our fallen heroes.
The legislation relates to the Gold Star’s Mother’s Day.
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. began as a non-profit organization for American mothers who lost sons or daughters in the American military.
The name comes from the custom of families of soldiers hanging a banner, called the service flag, in their homes. The service flag had a star for each family member in the armed forces. Living soldiers were represented by a blue star, and those who lost their lives in combat were represented by a gold star.
On this day, the families of those who have received the gold star are honored – a military decoration that no family would wish to receive.
The award commemorates the death of a military member who died in the line of duty and hopes to offer a measure of comfort to the parents and families left behind.
Since World War I, a “Gold Star Family” has referred to a family that has lost one of its members in combat. The family may display a Gold Star Service Flag for any military family member who died for a just cause – each gold star on the flag represents a death.
The American Gold Star Mothers began in 1917 largely due to the efforts of Grace Siebold. Her son George was a pilot killed in World War I.
George joined the 148th Aero Squadron in 1918. This was an American unit commanded by the British Royal Air Force. It was a fighter squadron tasked with shooting down enemy aircraft, escorting air squadrons, and providing close-range support for ground operations.
In September 1918 his letters home stopped. Grace Seibold contacted the War Department. She was told the agency is not “keeping tabs on” those under British command.
A family story tells that on Christmas Eve 1918 a package appeared at her house. The label on the package read: “Effects of the late Officer 1st Lieutenant George Vaughn Seibold, who is attached to the 148th Aero Squadron, British Royal Flying Corps.“
The package was actually delivered in October. A week before the November 11 armistice, the Seibold family learned that the War Office had pronounced George dead on August 26, 1918 in Pas-de-Calais, France. His remains had not been identified, but he was probably buried in a French cemetery.
Grace rallied America’s Goldstar moms to mourn together and care for hospitalized veterans at local hospitals. The organization was recognized as a non-profit organization in 1928.
Gold Star Family Day holiday
The new holiday would fall between Labor Day and Columbus Day.
Since 2011, the President has designated one day annually as Gold Star Families Day. The creation of a new federal holiday would give the event a lot of publicity, even though it was created after World War I.
Congress must decide which days are important enough to create another federal holiday. Undoubtedly, with all the latest proposals, the designation seems less relevant than it used to be. On the other hand, many voters want a day off without a drop in wages.
Federal holidays 2022
Here is a list of public holidays in 2022.
|Friday 31 December 2021*||New Year|
|Monday January 17th||Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.|
|Monday February 21st**||Washington’s birthday|
|Monday, May 30th||memorial day|
|Monday June 20th*||16th National Independence Day|
|Monday 4th July||independence Day|
|Monday, 5.9||Labor Day|
|Monday 10 October||Columbus Day|
|Friday, November 11th||Veterans Day|
|Thursday, November 24th||Thanksgiving|
|Monday, 26.12||Christmas Day|
*If a holiday falls on a Saturday, most federal employees treat the preceding Friday as a holiday for pay and vacation purposes. (See 5 USC 6103(b).) When a holiday falls on a Sunday, most federal employees treat the following Monday as a holiday for pay and vacation purposes. (See Section 3(a) of Executive Order 11582 of February 11, 1971.) See also our Federal Holiday Bulletin – “In Place of” Provision.
© 2022 Ralph R Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without the express written permission of Ralph R. Smith.