The Navajo Nation hosted the third annual Navajo Nation Gold Star Mothers and Families Day event at the Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park and Veterans Memorial on Sunday, September 30.
“As we come here together to ensure that our fallen warriors will never be forgotten, we also come to honor and recognize the sacrifices made by their families,” President Russell Begaye said. “Thank you to all of our Gold Star Mothers and our Gold Star Families.”
The Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President (OPVP), and the Navajo Hopi Honor Riders hosted the ceremony in Window Rock, Arizona. It was the third recognition event on the Navajo Nation. Before, families would travel greater distances to participate and honor their children amongst fellow Gold Star Families.
“For the last three years, the attendance has been growing,” said Chris West, a member of the Navajo Hopi Honor Riders. “It’s great to see that more and more are starting to be recognized. They’re starting to know that this event does take place. With the help of the Office of the President and Vice President, we’re able to be here for the families.”
The Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders organization formed after the death of Lori Piestewa, the first Native American woman to die in combat on foreign soil during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The group supports soldiers by welcoming veterans home, assisting with funeral escorts and organizing the annual Navajo-Hopi Honor Run to visit veterans and their families.
President Begaye and Vice President Nez issued a proclamation and designated the last Sunday in September of each year as Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day to recall our sacred obligation to honor those who gave their lives in the name of freedom and recognize the mothers and families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.