Gold Star Mother’s Day
In the aftermath of World War I, Washington D.C. resident Grace Darling Seibold formed an organization called Gold Star Mothers, to support the moms who had lost sons and daughters to the war. Grace’s son, First Lieutenant George Vaughn Seibold, was an aviator who had been killed in combat over France in 1918.
In 1928, the small D.C.-based group decided to nationalize its efforts. The Gold Star Mothers grew from a support group of 60 women to an extensive nation-wide network with tens of thousands of members and hundreds of local chapters. Today, any American woman who has lost a child in the line of duty can join the Gold Star Mothers.
The organization’s primary role then and now is to provide emotional support to bereaved mothers. Members also actively volunteer with the veteran community and act as patriotic supporters of the United States military.
In 1936, a Joint Congressional resolution established the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother’s Day, a holiday that has been observed ever since by Presidential proclamation.
Early in President George W. Bush’s tenure as president, he renewed that proclamation, declaring on September 28, 2001:
“Today, the nation’s Gold Star Mothers still stand as symbols of purpose, perseverance, and grace in the face of personal tragedy. Each year, the Nation remembers their sacrifice by honoring the Gold Star Mothers for their steadfast commitment to the legacy of their fallen children and their devotion to the United States of America.”
The name the Gold Star Mothers was derived from the custom of military families to hang a service flag in their front window. The flag featured a star for each member of the family serving in the military; living members were denoted in blue, while gold stars honored family members killed in the line of duty.