Written by Christy Hinko Friday, 28 September 2012 00:00I recently heard a Gold Star Mother on Long Island speaking to several in attendance at an event for veterans at Eisenhower Park; I was captivated when I heard her say, “Being a Gold Star Mother is a honor, but not a ‘membership’ that any parent wants to be a part of.”
Historically, a service flag with a blue star was hung in the front window, or flown outside of a home when someone in the family was actively serving in World War I. If the soldier died while serving in France or elsewhere during WWI, the blue star was replaced with the gold star to indicate the family’s loss. A gold star on a purple background banner is a symbol of a battlefield death.
In 1936, the gold star symbolism was actually designated a day of remembrance, always on the last Sunday of September; and although it is called “Gold Star Mother’s Day” the observance is extended to include all in the “Gold Star” family, fathers and siblings.
With proud honor, Long Island is home to many Gold Star parents, including more than 165 organized members locally. Membership into the organization of the Gold Star Mothers is open to any American mother who has lost a son or daughter in service. Gold Star family membership is also available. National membership is available at: http://www.goldstarmoms.com/.
Sadly, very few people recognize the symbols of sacrifice anymore and even fewer recognize the special day of observance for many families that has been in place for more than 95 years.