How Gold Star Mothers came to be
Often the question has been asked, “what is a Gold Star Mother?” During the early days of World War I, a blue star was used to represent each person, man or woman, in the military service, of the United States.
As the war progressed and men were being killed in combat, others wounded and died of their wounds or disease, there came about the accepted usage of the gold star.
The gold star was substituted and superimposed upon the blue star in such a manner as to cover the blue star.
The idea of the gold star was that the honor and glory accorded the person, for his supreme sacrifice in offering for his country, the last full measure of devotion and pride of the family in this sacrifice, rather than the sense of personal loss, which would be represented by mourning symbols. In June 1928, a group of 25 mothers, residing in Washington, DC, met to make plans to form a national organization, to be known as American Gold Star Mothers Inc., a nondenominational, nonprofit and nonpolitical organization.
On Jan. 5, 1929, the organization was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia. During the 1942 national convention of the American Gold Star Mothers, the membership was opened to mothers who had lost a son or daughter in World War II and was again opened after the Korean conflict. Thus the gold star and term Gold Star Mother continues to be used in reference to all American military engagements.
Gold Star Mother’s mission
A Gold Star Mother’s mission is “Finding strength in the fellowship of other gold star mothers who strive to keep the memory of our sons and daughters alive by working to help veterans, active duty military their families and our communities.”
On June 12, 1984, the 98th Congress of the United States granted the Gold Star Mothers, Inc., a charter which lists objectives and purposes for which the corporation is organized:
1) Keep alive and develop the spirit that promoted world services.
2) Maintain the ties of fellowship born of that service, and to assist and further all patriotic work.
3) Inculcate (instill or impart) a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and the nation.
4) Assist veterans of all conflicts and their dependents in the presentation of claims to the Veterans’ Administration, and to aid in any way, in their power, men and women who served and died, or were wounded or incapacitated during hostilities.
5) Perpetuate the memory of those whose lives were sacrificed in our wars.
6) Maintain true allegiance to the United States of America.
7) Inculcate lessons of patriotism and love of country in the communities in which we live.
8) Inspire respect for the stars and stripes in the youth of America.
9) Extend needful assistance to all Gold Star Mothers, and when possible to the descendants.
10) To promote peace and good will for the united states and all other nations.
The Gold Star Mothers have an interesting history; one story that particularly interested me is that during World War I, there were so many young men dying in battle, and as a result, there were many mothers walking around in black mourning cloaks. It was very depressing for many people to see. So President Woodrow Wilson had his wife meet with the gold star mothers committee; they came up with wearing the color white.
White represents the innocence and purity of our children. To this day we wear white when attending official functions.
In 1936, then President Franklin D. Roosevelt permanently established the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mothers Day.
Life after the death of our sons or daughters
I am the proud mother of Staff Sgt. Sean Diamond, who was killed in action when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device near as salam, Iraq on Feb. 15, 2009. Sean was 41 years old; he left a wife and four children.
The gold star pin honoring my son is like an outward expression of a burden carried deep inside me; except few people today seem to know what it means.
My gold star pin is very precious to me, because I am very proud of Sean and his ultimate sacrifice for his country.
While Sean was deployed, a blue star service flag proudly hung in my window showing I had someone in my family serving our country during war time. When my son was killed, that blue star service flag became a gold star service flag, and my life changed forever.
There is no possible way to understand the traumatic loss of a child of any age. One does learn to accept the fact that one’s child is gone, but continues to grieve and to find ways to manage one’s life. Ten months after Sean was killed, I decided to start sending care packages to the troops as I had for Sean during his three tours in Iraq.
Sending care packages to the troops in honor of Sean is a huge part of my life now. In addition to sending care packages, I have been appointed to my second term as a commissioner for the Nevada office of
Veteran services, which allows me to work with the veterans and the active military.
The success of our organization continues because of the bond of mutual love, sympathy, and support of the many loyal, capable, and patriotic mothers who, while sharing their grief and pride, have channeled their time, efforts, and gifts to lessening the pain of others.
Nothing can ever take away
The love a heart holds dear.
Fond memories linger every day.
Remembrance keeps them near.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you what it means to be a Gold Star Mother.
Sally Wiley is a Gold Star Mother. Her son Sean Diamond was killed in Iraq on Feb. 15, 2009.