VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — During the 10th Annual Gold Star Family Evening held by Honor and Remember, families came together to honor and remember their fallen Military Heroes.
On Saturday, the largest number of Gold Star Families attended the annual event at the Founder’s Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach.
All of them had something in common: they’ve felt the pain of losing a loved one who served this country, but will never come back home for the holidays.
George Lutz, the founder of Honor and Remember, said this time of year is especially difficult for Gold Star Families.
Lutz started the annual event 10 years ago. He himself is a Gold Star Father.
“You don’t ever want to get to the point where memories fade and things are forgotten,” said Lutz.
His son, George Anthony Lutz II (Tony) was killed by a sniper bullet while serving in Iraq 14 years ago. He was only 25 years old.
“Your whole being goes into a fog. For the first year, you're going through every date, holiday, and meaningful moment that you experienced with that individual,” said Lutz.
“It's very difficult to go through that process, because every day is fresh without them.”
But as the families came together Saturday evening, they hugged each other and shared the stories of their fallen loved ones.
Lutz said it’s a form of healing: a difficult process he’s grappled with by helping other families.
“His loss has encouraged me to give to others, to give back, and bring people together in a way that brings healing and positive remembrance,” said Lutz.
As families honored the sacrifice their loved ones made, Lutz said it’s is not about the sadness of their loss, but rather, celebrating the lives of their fallen Military Heroes.