September 25, 2016, the last Sunday in September, is Gold Star Mother’s Day. The celebration observes Gold Star mothers, those who have lost a son or daughter who died in the line of duty while serving in the armed forces of the United States.
The history of the celebration began with Grace Darling Seibold, after she was notified that her son was MIA. He was flying as a pilot with 148th Aero Squadron of the British Royal Flying Corps in World War I when the U.S. did not have an air force at that time.
She assuaged her grief by organizing a group of women like herself who had also lost family members in the war. She called the group Gold Star Mothers. Gold Star came the standard practice of Americans placing flags in homes, businesses, schools and churches bearing a blue star for each family member serving in the military. Families stitched a gold star over the blue star to honor those members who died during military service.
On June 4, 1928, a group of “twenty-five mothers met in Washington, DC to establish the national organization, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.”
Then eight years later, Congress, passed and Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895 as amended), which designated the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Mother’s Day.”
And, in September 2012, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation commemorating that year’s celebration as “Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.
In a message to its members on September 23, 2016, the Honorable Hershel W. Gober, National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) expressed the feelings that most of us have about Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Families:
“It is hard to imagine the pain of a mother who loses a son or daughter, the wife or husband who loses their life partner, or the child who loses a father or mother. Just as we honor our brothers and sisters who stood beside us, only to give their last full measure of devotion, we in the Military Order of the Purple Heart hold close and honor their Gold Star Families left behind. On this day, let us remember our commitment to the Gold Star Mothers and Families who carry on with pride and resolve despite unthinkable loss. As a grateful Nation, we declare that we will never forget their sacrifice, and renew our promise to build a future worthy of their devotion.”
Indeed we do.