National Memorial Day Concert

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Supporting Our Gold Star Children

With the help of their mother, Stephanie, Bayleigh and Cameron Dostie learn to embrace life as Gold Star children.

Cameron and Bayleigh Dostie were just starting back to school in September 2005 when their father, Shawn, deployed to Iraq. Shawn was a career soldier from a military family; he knew the dangers he would meet. He went because it was his job; he went to help and protect his platoon. When a roadside bomb struck his unit’s Humvee, Shawn threw himself in the way of the hit, sacrificing his life so that three platoon-mates would live.

For Bayleigh and Cameron, this makes him a hero, but it doesn’t bring him back to them.

Gold Star children are survivors whose mothers or fathers were killed or died while serving in the U.S. military: 183,000 from World War II, 20,000 from Vietnam and nearly 5,000 from Iraq and Afghanistan. Until recently, these children received little public acknowledgment or support as they traveled the road to adulthood without the love and help of a parent who never returned. But organizations such as T.A.P.S. — Tragedy Assistance Providers for Survivors, Sons and Daughters in Touch, Gold Star children and other Gold Star organizations and service providers now offer support and resources so that this newest generation of Gold Star children need not make their journey alone. 

The 2011 National Memorial Day Concert shared the story of Michelle Baugh, and other Gold Star children of the Vietnam War era. 

On the 1997 National Memorial Day Concert, actress Jill Eikenberry shared a letter left by Sally Griffis under her husband's name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Sally Griffis was still in the hospital with her newborn daughter when she learned that her husband, Bill, had been killed in Vietnam.  Their daughter, Mitty, was hours old. Sally's oldest daughter was almost 4 years old. The 1996 concert shared a letter Sally placed beneath Bill’s name at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 

Sally and Bill’s daughter, Mitty Griffis Mirrer, has created an award-winning documentary about Gold Star children, which she hopes will show the world through their eyes and tell their story through their own words. 

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