Quinn said that raising children is the hardest thing anyone can do. He also told the families at the ceremony that it was something they had done very well.
The governor told those gathered that their sons and daughters are America's real heroes.
"God did not give them a long chronological life. He gave them a purposeful life," Quinn said.
"While their final act of courage is now your living sacrifice, honoring that sacrifice is our responsibility as Americans," said Dan grant, director of the Illinois Dept. of Veteran's Affairs.
Chicago Ald. James Balcer also led a Gold Star Mother's Day ceremony at Soldier Field Sunday.
A special tribute was paid to those Americans killed in World War II on the pacific island of Tarawa. Hundreds are still buried there.