September 27, 2008: Gold Star Mother’s Day
September 28, 2008
On Thursday, President Bush signed a proclamation declaring today, Gold Star Mother’s Day. The last Sunday in September, was designated by Congress to be “Gold Star Mother’s Day” in 1936. By designating this day, they also request that each year, the President issue a proclamation each year.1
When the United States entered World War I in 1917, George Vaughn Seibold, 23, volunteered, requesting assignment in aviation. He was sent to Canada where he learned to fly British planes since the United States had neither an air force nor planes. Deployed to England, he was assigned to the British Royal Flying Corps, 148th Aero Squadron. With his squadron, he left for combat duty in France. He corresponded with his family regularly. His mother, Grace Darling Seibold, began to do community service by visiting returning servicemen in the hospitals.
The mail from George stopped. Since all aviators were under British control and authority, the United States could not help the Seibold family with any information about their son.
Christmas Eve, 1918, the postman delivered a package to the Washington, DC residence of George and Grace Seibold. The package was marked, “Effects of Deceased Officer, First Lieutenant George Vaughn Seibold, Attached to the 148th Squadron, BRFC.” No other information was provided.
Grace continued to visit hospitalized veterans in the Washington area, clinging to the hope that her son might have been injured and returned to the United States without any identification. While working through her sorrow, she helped ease the pain of the many servicemen who returned so war-damaged that they were incapable of ever reaching normalcy.
After months of inquiry, the family received official notice. “George was killed in aerial combat during the heaviest fighting over Baupaume, France, August 26, 1918.” His body was never recovered.
Grace, realizing that self-contained grief is self-destructive, devoted her time and efforts to not only working in the hospital but extending the hand of friendship to other mothers whose sons had lost their lives in military service.
She organized a group consisting solely of these special mothers, with the purpose of not only comforting each other, but giving loving care to hospitalized veterans confined in government hospitals far from home.
The organization was named after the Gold Star that families hung in their windows in honor of the deceased veteran.
After years of planning, June 4, 1928, twenty-five mothers met in Washington, DC to establish the national organization, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
The success of our organization continues because of the bond of mutual love, sympathy, and support of the many loyal, capable, and patriotic mothers who while sharing their grief and their pride, have channeled their time, efforts and gifts to lessening the pain of others.
We stand tall and proud by honoring our children, assisting our veterans, supporting our nation, and healing with each other.
On May 28, 1918, President Wilson approved a suggestion made by the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defenses that, instead of wearing conventional mourning for relatives who have died in the service of their country, American women should wear a black band on the left arm with a gilt star on the band for each member of the family who has given his life for the nation.
“The Service Flag displayed from homes, places of business, churches, schools, etc., to indicate the number of members of the family or organizations who are serving in the Armed Forces or who have died from such service. Service flags have a deep Blue Star for each living member in the service and a Gold Star for each member who has died.” Thus, the gold Star and the term Gold Star Mother, as applied to mothers whose sons or daughters died in the World Wars, has been accepted.2
Because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I feel it’s extremely important, especially now, to honor these women, for the sacrifices they’ve made for our country. In his proclamation, President Bush is asking that all Americans fly their flag today. To read his proclamation in whole, please click on the “more” button.
Gold Star Mother’s Day, 2008
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
White House News
Throughout our history, the men and women of the Armed Forces have put our Nation’s security before their own, doing their duty in the face of grave danger. On Gold Star Mother’s Day, we pay solemn tribute to the mothers of the patriots lost serving this great Nation.
Gold Star Mothers inspire our Nation with their deep devotion to family and country. These extraordinary women serve their communities, dedicate their time to helping members of our Armed Forces and veterans, and bring comfort and hope to families whose loved ones laid down their lives in the defense of our liberty. Nothing can compensate for their sacrifice and loss, yet Gold Star Mothers demonstrate tremendous courage and resolve while working to preserve the memory and legacy of all our fallen heroes.
On this day, we honor our country’s Gold Star Mothers and remember their sons’ and daughters’ noble service and great sacrifice. We offer them our deepest gratitude and our most profound respect, and we ask for God’s blessings to be upon them and their families.
The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Mother’s Day” and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in its observance.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 28, 2008, as Gold Star Mother’s Day. I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this special day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation’s sympathy and respect for our Gold Star Mothers.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
GEORGE W. BUSH3
Today, as you go about your normal routine, remember, there are thousands of Gold Star Mother’s out there, who have lost their sons or daughters in the fight for freedom, over the years that this country has been in existence. As one of the speakers at this year’s Milblog Conference so eloquently put it, as she was speaking about her spouse and child being deployed, “A husband can be replaced, a child cannot.” If you know a Gold Star Mother, please take a moment to shake her hand, look her in the eye and tell her thanks for the sacrifices she has made for our nation.
- http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=51308 [↩]
- http://www.goldstarmoms.com/WhoWeAre/History/History.htm [↩]
- http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/09/20080924-9.html [↩]