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September 28, 2012


National Gold Star Mothers Day to be observed Sept. 30

National Gold Star Mothers Day will be observed Sunday, Sept. 30.

On June 23, 1936, a joint congressional resolution designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mothers Day, a day that has been observed each year by presidential proclamation to call on U.S. government officials to display the nation’s flag on all government buildings; to call on people to display the flag and hold appropriate meetings at homes, churches, or other suitable places; and to publicly express the love, sorrow, and reverence to those who are Gold Star Mothers and their Families.

American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. (AGSM) is an organization of mothers whose sons or daughters served and died while serving their nation in times of war or conflict. The name, “The Gold Star Mothers,” was derived from the custom of military Families who put a service flag near their front window. The flag featured a star for each Family member serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. A blue star denoted living Family members serving their country, while a gold star symbolized a Family member who died in the line of duty. In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson approved wearing black arm bands, bearing a gilt star, by those who had a Family member who died while on duty. Today the gold star may be seen on a service flag, on an arm band or in the form of a pin, which is worn by Gold Star Mothers.

The Gold Star Mothers group was founded by Grace Darling Seibold of Washington, D.C. Her son, 1st Lt. George Vaughn Seibold, was killed in aerial combat over France in August 1918. Mrs. Seibold already was doing volunteer service in a veterans hospital. After her son’s death, she continued this work, and also began organizing a group of other women who had lost their sons in the war. The mothers did volunteer work together, and served as a support network for one another.

The AGSM was incorporated in 1929, obtaining a federal charter from the U.S. Congress. It began with 25 mothers living in the Washington, D.C. area. Today, membership in the AGSM is open to any American woman whose child has died in the line of duty of the U.S. Armed Forces. Stepmothers and adoptive mothers are eligible for membership under certain circumstances. Husbands of Gold Star Mothers may become Associate Members, who do not vote or pay dues.

At the June 2012 AGSM National Convention held in Arlington, Va., it was reported that AGSM membership consisted of 2,211 individuals. At the 1986 National Convention it was determined that white be designated as the official dress code of the AGSM, to be worn at the opening of the National Conventions, Department Conventions, funerals and all functions appropriately designated by National, Department or Chapter.

AGSM continues to concentrate on providing emotional support to its members, doing volunteer work with veterans in general and veterans hospitals in particular, and generally fostering a sense of patriotism and respect for members of the armed forces.

On Sept. 30, let us all take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of our nation’s military Families and, in particular, Gold Star Mothers. To learn more about AGSM, visit www.goldstarmoms.com.

For information on Survivor Outreach Services in the Fort McCoy community, call Army Community Service at 608-388-3505.

(Compiled and submitted by Fort McCoy Army Community Service.)

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