Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day
Reported By B.Perez
Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day takes place on the last Sunday of every September. It is meant to honor the mothers and families that have lost one of their own who served in the United States Armed Forces. The Gold Star originated in World War One, when families would hang ‘service flags’ at their homes to signify if one of their own was serving in the armed forces. Blue stars would indicate the number of family members serving, while gold stars would signify those who died in service.
During the Great War, Grace Darling Seibold’s son, George, had volunteered for military service. During that time, Grace would help returning servicemen in hospitals cope with their trauma and attempts to return to normal life. All the while, George would correspond with her through letters. She continued to help servicemen in hospitals when the letters stopped coming, now hoping to find information regarding her son. In October of 1918, a package of his personal effects had arrived at his wife’s door, indicating that George had died in service. Grace wanted to help other grieving mothers, and after several years, in 1928 she founded the national organization, Gold Star Mothers. In the Joint Senate Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936, the last Sunday of September was declared “Gold Star Mothers Day” in recognition.
While originally meant for mothers who lost children in WWI, it was expanded as the years went on to include those lost in WWII, the Korean War, and so on. Probably the most well known member of the Gold Star Mothers was Aletta Sullivan, mother of the five Sullivan Brothers who lost their lives while serving together on the USS Juneau, which was sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942.
In September of 2012, President Barack Obama declared that the last Sunday of September to be “Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day” in the presidential proclamation preceding every observance of the day, which President Donald Trump carried on September 2017. For this year, President Joe Biden stated in his proclamation the outrage he has for the recent terrorist attack at Kabul Airport resulting in the lost lives of 13 service members:
“My heart aches that this year we have more Gold Star families who must mourn their heroic loved ones. Our Nation is forever indebted to those who gave their last full measure of devotion to defend our peace and security. We are devastated by their loss and inspired by their sacrifice. When we remember these fallen service members, we must also honor the people who mourn their losses. We remember them every day, and on this day, we pay special tribute to their surviving families.”
With every observance of this Day, the President encourages the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation’s gratitude and respect for our Gold Star Mothers and Families.