“The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1985 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Mother’s Day.”
“On this day, we remember our commitment to the Gold Star mothers and families who carry on with pride and resolve despite unthinkable loss. We recall our sacred obligation to those who gave their lives so we could live ours. As a grateful Nation, we declare that we will never forget their sacrifice, and we renew our promise to build a future worthy of their devotion.”- From U.S. Presidential Proclamation, September 26, 2013
Yes today is Gold Star Mother’s Day. Most veterans know that the “Gold Star” on a flag or found on a banner displayed in a window or on a front porch means that this family has lost a loved one while serving in our military.
The history of Gold Star Mother’s Day had a meager beginning during World War I. When letters from Grace Darling Siebold’s son, George, ceased coming from Europe, she searched for him in Washington, D.C. hospitals. Because he was assigned as a pilot to the British Royal Flying Corps, (the U.S. did not yet have an air force) she was hoping that he might have returned to the U.S. injured and without identification. Unfortunately, she learned that George’s wife received a box of his effects from the War Department on October 11, 1918. An official notification of his death followed shortly thereafter and his body was never recovered.
Realizing that grief held within was self-destructive, she continued working in a local hospital. She also reached out to other mothers who had also lost their sons in the war. Together they comforted each other as well as cared for veterans who were hospitalized far from home.
The name “Gold Star” came from a service banner containing blue and/or gold stars that was commonly displayed in the window of families whose sons were in WW I; a blue star represented those who were fighting; a gold star meant a son had been killed.
Ten years later on June 4, 1928, twenty-five mothers met to organize a national group, which became known as American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. Today, the organization accepts as members “any American woman whose child has died in the line of duty of the United States Armed Forces”, including stepmothers and adoptive mothers (though under certain circumstances). Husbands of Gold Star Mothers are accepted as non-dues paying, non-voting “Associate Members”.
We veterans truly understand the grief associated with the loss of a loved one who has died in the service of our country. So on this day, we wish to honor all Gold Star Mothers and their families. God bless you all!