When an active-duty service member dies, his or her mother automatically becomes a Gold Star Mother. It’s a distinction that no mother wants, but it’s one they wear proudly.
The tradition of the Gold Star began during World War II. Even during World War I, a blue star was used on service flags and hung in homes and businesses to represent each living active-duty member. If a son or daughter were killed in combat, the gold star was superimposed on the blue star to honor the person for his ultimate sacrifice to the country. Eventually, the mothers of those fallen service members became known as Gold Star Mothers, and their families Gold Star Families.
Gold Star Mother’s Day is observed in the United States on the last Sunday of September each year.
I grew up with a Gold Star Grandma, Leora Goff Wilson. She wore that pin often. Three Gold Stars had been pasted over the five blue ones in the service flag that hung in her rural home.
It’s hard to realize the loss of one son, but she lost all three within two years. And was widowed within one more year.
These mothers lived with their terrible losses the rest of their lives, remembering long-ago details and dates of those heart-rending telegrams.