Fort Bragg paused Sunday to recognize the Families of those who have lost loved ones in service to this nation.
The installation held its annual Gold Star Parents Day at a 3 p.m. in a ceremony at McKellar’s Lodge.
Sixty-eight Family members were scheduled to attend the event, said Charlotte Watson, program manager, Survivor Outreach Services, a program dedicated to advocating for those who have lost a Soldier.
The Parents Day ceremony, which is in its third year, provides an opportunity to honor special parents, Watson said.
A pair of those special parents is Raye and Steve Cantrell, who lost their son, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward D. Cantrell, in a house fire in Hope Mills, N.C., in March.
Survivor events seemed to be appreciated by Families.
“Just to be out among others who understand, makes you realize you’re not alone,” Raye said.
Iris and Bruce Winters lost their son, Lt. j.g. Bruce Winters in a helicopter crash in the United Arab Emirates in 1993. He was 26 years old.
“The pain never goes away,” said Iris, whose goal for attending was to help younger Gold Star mothers.
“They’ll survive and come out on the other end,” she said.
Fort Bragg embraces the legacy of its fallen heroes, said Lt. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, in keynote remarks. “We owe a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid,” Allyn said.
An eternal flame burns on the Main Post Parade Field for all those who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001 and for those who have since fallen.
“This flame and our commitment will burn brightly until all of our troopers return home,” Allyn said.
Major Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command (Airborne), also delivered keynote remarks.
LaCamera told the Gold Star Families that they were the living example of the Army motto — Army Strong.
“Your strength is inspiring,” he said.
The children of Gold Star Families were heroes before they died, said LaCamera.
Other Parents Day activities included dinner, entertainment by the 82nd All American Chorus and a candle-light ceremony.
In 1936, a joint congressional resolution designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother’s Day, and honors the tradition of displaying gold stars on flags for those killed while on duty and blue stars for living members who serve.
For more information about SOS or other FMWR events, visit www.fortbraggmwr.com.