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President Trump and First Lady Host Gold Star Families at White House

AP/Elaine Thompson

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Monday night at the White House Gold Star families gathered at the request of President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump for an event to honor them and the loved ones they have lost.

The first lady defined Gold Star families, those whose immediate family member died while serving in the military during wartime, “they are a unique and distinct category of individuals who should be cherished.”

“These families have endured the ultimate in pain and sacrifice on behalf of our country, and I am honored to have spent the evening with them. My husband and I commit to always pay tribute to our active service military, veterans, and the families who love them,” she added according to the White House.

National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, a retired General, also hosted the reception with the President and first lady.

Sec. Kelly himself lost his U.S. Marine officer son in 2010. His son was killed while serving in Afghanistan.

President Trump addressed the room of Gold Star families before turning the event over to Sec. Kelly. Kelly addressed the families, then asked each family to stand as the name of the loved one they lost was read. The Secretary and Mrs. Kelly lit candles to remember each person that has lost their life in service to the United States.

The White House noted in a release that the term “God Star family” can be traced back to World War I when Americans “would fly a flag bearing a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the armed forces.” that star was changed to gold if the family member was killed in the War.

The United States Marine Band played and a military soloist sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America the Beautiful” for the event.