11.15.16

Daines Hails Passage of Legislation Honoring Gold Star Families

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today hailed the U.S. Senate passage of legislation to preserve the stories of servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the United States. 

H.R. 4511, the Gold Star Families Voices Act, will allow the parents, spouses, siblings and children of fallen heroes to participate in the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress and tell the stories of their loved ones—ensuring the preservation of the lives and sacrifices of servicemembers.

“By preserving the legacy of the brave men and women who fought on behalf of our nation, we can better understand the realities of past wars and pass their stories along to future generations,” Daines stated. “If you are a Gold Star family and are willing to tell your family’s story, I encourage you to participate in this important project.”

Donna Koontz of Troy, MT: “As a Gold Star mother, I often look at current events and issues of the day and sadly doubt if the people of the world are worth the sacrifice my son made. The public does not know his deep voice, the sound of his laughter, the determined look in his eyes, his happiness while fishing with his brothers, his gentle touch while sleeping with his baby girl in his arms. These very personal stories need to be preserved, not only for Gold Star families, but for future generations. The image of the American soldier has been tarnished around the world.  These young men and women were not imperial soldiers out to conquer the world. They were our beloved sons and daughters who wanted the world to be a better place, a place where everyone had the right to be free, to raise their own families in peace, without fear and oppression. Their life stories must be remembered, honored and used as guide posts for the path of our future. Senator Daines, you efforts to pass this bill would be greatly appreciated by the mother of Sgt Scott Dykman, kia Baghdad, Iraq, December 20th, 2006.” 

Gary White, State Adjutant, American Legion of Montana: “The American Legion of Montana believes the voices of the Gold Star Families should be heard, they have a unique perspective on the lives of the fallen. We thank Sen. Daines for his support of the Gold Star Families Voices Act and his efforts to help veterans tell their stories.”

Daines kicked off the Veterans History Project in Montana on September 30, 2015. Congress created the Veterans History Project (VHP) in 2000 as part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. 

To date, the VHP has recorded over 100,000 stories from veterans who have served in military engagements since World War I, including 274 Montanans. 

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed this legislation on September 6, 2016. The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature. 

If you are a Gold Star family willing to tell your story, please contact Daines’ Great Falls office by calling (406) 453-0148 or by visiting Daines’ website: https://www.daines.senate.gov/serving-you/veterans-history-project

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