In June, Sons and Daughters In Touch (SDIT) will celebrate its 25th Anniversary with a Father’s Day weekend celebration in Washington, DC. Attendees will gather to see their fathers’ names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and share the experience of living though the 1960s and 70s when the war was a lightning-rod for controversy and protests.
These Gold Star ‘sons and daughters’ were infants and adolescents when the dreaded ‘knock on the door’ occurred notifying them that their fathers had been killed – or were missing – in the war. They persevered, came of age, went to college, started families and careers, and many are now grandparents! But they will always be the Gold Star ‘sons and daughters’ whose fathers were lost in the rice paddies and jungles of SE Asia.
When SDIT was established in 1990, America didn’t have an organization for the war orphans of WWII, Korea or Vietnam. Organizations like Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Wives and the National League of POW/MIA families met the needs of those groups, but the 20,000 children left fatherless by the Vietnam War, were virtually forgotten.
With the help of supportive veterans, SDIT was formed to locate and unite these children – many of whom longed to see their fathers’ names etched into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and had never met another Gold Star child. Establishing SDIT prompted the formation of similar organizations from WWII and the Korean War – each offering its own brand of support.
Twenty-five years later, SDIT has bonded with Vietnam veterans, and stands strong with thousands of members throughout the country. In 2003, 50 members traveled to Vietnam to see the places where their fathers fought and died. Together, the common bond they’ve established has transformed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial into a family tree!
As SDIT has grown, America has found itself in the Persian Gulf War, 9/11 and the Global War on Terror. Combat has again left young children fatherless – and now motherless, as well.
Instead of being forgotten, this time America has rallied to support these children with peer-mentoring, grief counseling and guidance, academic scholarships, and get-away excursions, to help ease their loss. This support illustrates the military and social lessons learned from the Vietnam War.
Today, America’s youngest Gold Star children often find themselves befriended by members of Sons and Daughters In Touch. The lives of America’s oldest Gold Star ‘children’ from WWII, Korea and Vietnam, help the nation visualize what life holds in store for the youngest Gold Star ‘children’. SDIT members consider it their duty to provide this support, and to educate the nation on the life-long impact of war.
This Father’s Day 2015 – as SDIT marks its 25th anniversary – we invite Gold Star families and Veterans from all conflicts to join us as we honor our fathers in a weekend of remembrance, healing and hope.
Join SDIT for this milestone celebration! Register today for your spot (http://sdit.org/25th-anniversary-invitation), and share the link with others you know.
If you would like to make a commemorative $25 contribution to support SDIT’s Father’s Day celebration, please click on this link: www.gofundme.com/sdit25
Your generosity is greatly appreciated!