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  • 2 Aug 2020 5:02 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    My name is Kim Brooks, and I am a K2 widow and advocate for the 11,000 servicemembers and contractors, their caretakers, and family members, whose lives were forever altered by their presence at “K2”, Karshi-Khanabad, Uzbekistan, an abandoned toxic Russian airbase, between October 2001 and March 2005.

    My husband, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy P. Brooks (USMA ’89), deployed to K2 in the fall of 2001 and died of an aggressive, stage three astrocytoma, Memorial Day weekend, May 29, 2004, just 26 months after returning home, leaving me and our beautiful children, family members, and friends devastated. Below is my memory of June 4, 2004, the day we laid Tim to rest.


    A haunting wail pierced the still June air of Arlington National Cemetery, first low and distant, but it only swelled and grew louder, almost insistent, in its clear and present anguish. My brain numbed and blanketed by trauma and grief, awakened to this sorrowful keening and wondered at its source as the crisply folded symbol of our nation was tenderly placed onto my shaking lap. My four disconsolate young children, unsure and unsettled at the unknown ahead of them, looked from the casket holding their father to my tear-stained face and closed-shut eyes as I took hold of the stitched red, white, and blue layers of fabric. The Old Guard colonel, handing me our nation’s symbol, felt our pain — he knew Tim and me and our family — worked with Tim, respected Tim, and yet, I could not process his words of sympathy, as that wail became all too present in the heavy and oppressive Virginia air. And still, I recognized all too well, the litany of words that he spoke to me in the stillness, the cookie-cutter condolences that I had heard through the years in my recurring nightmare as a military wife and mother.

    Brand new and with expertly tucked folds, the weight of the countless men and women who had fought and died in service for all, lay heavy in my lap. Brushing my fingertips over the thick, cottoned flag, I tried to comprehend this new truth — this raw and biting pain that encompassed me down to my core. And then, as if ripped from my numbness, the “blanket” was no longer there cocooning me from my reality — the haunting sound became fully realized. I opened my watery eyes and looked down at the weighty red, white, and blue triangle, now wet and salty with my tears, laying there in stark contrast to my black dress. My eyes lifted to Tim’s silver casket suspended over the soil that has honored the souls of more than 400,000 of our nation’s finest. My pain had been exposed and lay bare among the aged white tombstones. Seated on a plastic and metal chair, I had, in that moment, awakened to a new reality: I was a widow, my four children were fatherless, and that haunting wail, that sound that pierced these hallowed grounds, came from the depths of my being. No longer, could I hold it in.

    It has been sixteen years since we buried Tim, his burial only one day before our daughter’s 12th birthday. I can no longer be silent to this story of K2 and our 11,000 men and women who were asked to marinate in its toxic waste as they defended our nation. The suffering that has resulted is immeasurable and must be reconciled. The recurring nightmare of burying my husband became my family’s reality and the reality for far too many.

    How many is “too many?”

    My “too many” is 1.

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  • 17 Jul 2020 12:44 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    As the result of COVID 19 the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor's Center remains closed to the public. The grounds and Chapel are open seven days a week.
    With the uncertainly as to how long the COVID 19 will require social distancing and small groups and the amount of prior planning required, Run For The Wall has cancelled the September 5, 2020 bricklaying. Bricklaying has been scheduled for September 4, 2021. 

    They are hoping to have Dr. Steven Trout author of WAR, REMEMBERANCE AND AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY speak during Memorial Day 2021.

    The film, ON THIS HALLOWED GROUND: Vietnam Memorial Born From Tragedy has been showing on New Mexico PBS. Work is being done on getting it shown on national PBS.

    If you would like a copy of the video or book call Rhonda and Leanne at 575-377-6900 or go on the website at for information or to order items. They are in the office from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.

    Construction of the Angel Fire State Rural Veteran's cemetery will be completed in the next few days.

    Please stay safe and do what you can to help a vet and their families.

  • 19 Jun 2020 3:45 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    Gold Star Wives was well-represented in Memorial Day articles. 

    The Jacksonville Daily Progress published an article by Dr. Deborah Burkett of the Cherokee County Historical Commission who referenced Gold Star Wives in an article mainly about the history of the gold star emblem and other memorial day traditions.

    CBS affiliate KMOV4 published an in depth article with pictures and stories of several heroes who died from suicide, an issue of increasing importance to GSW.  "They didn't die in combat, but they lived heroic lives. Remembering the military heroes who died by suicide" included a feature of GSW Members Teresa Bowman, Aaron Mathews, Ronelle Hulbert, Connie Dalton, Sabine Ward and others. 

    The Haitian Times covered an article of a Haitian-American war veteran Army Sergeant Mario Nelson, "Even though he was from Haiti, and loved his Haitian culture, he also saw the United States of America as his country because of the opportunities he received." Read the full article at

    Gold Star Wives Members Chrissie D. Chojnicki, Lori Spada, Becky Nyren and several Gold Star Mothers were photographed at a Memorial Day ceremony at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  See link to the Day in Pictures.

    We Are the Mighty published an article about their lives together "Mighty Stories: Remembering my big, bad Green Beret, SSG Michael H. Simpson"  - click here.

    And finally the Milton Courier published the Memorial Day 2020 speech by Mayor Anissa Welch who recognized Gold Star Wives - click here

  • 19 Jun 2020 3:21 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    Taylor is the widow of Army Maj. Brent Taylor, who was killed in Afghanistan by a member of the Afghan security forces in 2018. The National Guard officer was on his fourth year-long tour when he was cut down. 

    Jennie is raising seven children, ages 2 through 14, complicated now by quarantine. "I'm only half-joking when I say I'm one small step away from really crazy," she said.

    Above is an excerpt from an in-depth article on titled "Gold Star wife remembers soldier's dreams."  The article can be found in its entirety here - - for those who want to read more about Mrs. Taylor and the scholarship fund created in her husband's honor.

  • 26 May 2020 10:33 AM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    Gold Star Wives were active this Memorial Day. News organizations helped us spread the word.  

    Two Oregon members were interviewed for an AARP article titled "Saluting Veterans, Military, and Their families".  The members interviewed included National President Nancy Menagh and member of the Board of Directors Valerie Morey. See the article and pictures here.

    In Little Rock, Arkansas, two more members were interviewed including Leslie Haynes and GSW Board of Directors member Sharri Briley, by KARK for the article Gold Star Families talk about the meaning of The Gold Star Memorial Monument. View the article online

    CNN published an article They didn't die in combat, but they lived heroic lives. Remembering the military heroes who died by suicide that gives important coverage to this issue that impacts so many Gold Star Wives.  Sabine Ward, an active member of Gold Star Wives, is interviewed in this article

    WTOC in Georgia has a video and article with Gold Star Wives represented. Click here to view their coverage of Memorial Day.

  • 12 May 2020 12:14 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    Our own National Newsletter Editor Ruth Crocker has published an article on The Day about Gold Star Wives.  Entitled "Gold Star Wives find a bond in their losses", the article is linked here. The article provides a history of GSW and current activities of the organization. Congratulations on getting this published Ruth!

  • 27 Apr 2020 10:31 AM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    GSW is proud to share a Huffington Post article featuring our own member Dr. Vivianne Wersel, who is currently serving on the GSW Board of Directors in the Public Relations position, and also founded the Arlington Chapter.  The article is titled "This Marine Widow Turned Tragedy To Triumph - Dr. Vivianne Wersel ensured that no service member's death is discounted." Read the article here.

  • 30 Mar 2020 4:37 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    The Chronicle Telegram (Amherst) covered GSW Kimberly Hazelgrove and her response to the passing of the SBP/DIC Offset. Link to article.

    The Augusta Chronicle published an article written by Rep. Joe Wilson on his legislative agenda and how important the ending of the "Widow's Tax" was to him. Link to article.

    Check out the incredible coverage in the Dover Post from their Gold Star Tea in February.  Many wonderful pictures! Link to coverage.

  • 27 Dec 2019 1:32 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    Since there are so many questions regarding the timeline and how the changes will affect many of our members, here is a helpful place to get updated information:

    SBP-DIC News Website

    DFAS has added a new webpage called "SBC-DIC News" where new information will be posted as it becomes available.

    Please plan to check this webpage for updates:

    Check the SBP-DIC News Webpage for Information on the SBP-DIC Offset Phased Elimination Congress included a phased elimination of the SBP-DIC offset in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, titled ""Phase-Out of Reduction of Survivor Benefit Plan Survivor Annuities by Amount of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.

    We want to make sure you know where to get information on how this change, if passed, may affect SBP annuitants.

    You can also learn more about SBP, DIC and SSIA on this webpage:…/…/Understanding-SBP-DIC-SSIA

    Understanding SBP, DIC and SSIA

  • 19 Dec 2019 1:37 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    An article appearing in the San Diego Union Tribune titled "Military widows are celebrating a huge victory in Congress" covers GSW member Kathy Prout, and other GSW members reactions to the SBP/DIC Offset bill that recently passed. [Read here]

    Meanwhile, covers this from Senator Doug Jones victory as one of the initial sponsors of the bill. [Read here]


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For additional information, or to become a Gold Star Wives Corporate Sponsor, please visit our sponsorship page.

Additional Sponsors:
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Birmingham, AL 35236
Phone: 1-888-751-6350

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200 N.Glebe Road Rm 435
Arlington, VA 22203-3755

Gold Star Wives of America, Inc

Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)4 National Military Widow/Widowers Service Organization chartered by the United States Congress. Donations are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes but may be deductible as trade or business expenses. Copyright © 2021.

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