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VFW Post 4174: The Gold Star

By Submitted by Pat Whitehall - | Oct 6, 2021

Remember back in grade school when you accomplished something special, like learning the times tables or how to spell a list of 20 words without making a mistake and were rewarded by a gold star? It was a symbol of your doing a worthwhile endeavor and your family would applaud you for the effort. Often the paper containing the gold star would be proudly displayed on the family refrigerator. Stars were often considered as a unique way of complimenting someone.

During the early days of World War I, a blue star was used to represent each person, male or female who was in the U.S. Military. As the war progressed and people were killed in combat, wounded and later died of the wounds or disease, there came about accepted usage of a gold star to cover the blue one.

On June 4, 1928, 25 mothers met in Washington, D.C. to establish a national organization known as the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. It was a nondenominational, non profitable, non political organization that would institute a charter. Jan. 5, 1929 saw the organization incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia.

The charter was kept open for 90 days and at the end of that time, had a membership of 65, which included mothers from the states of north, south, east and west. Many of the smaller groups were functioning under local and state charters, but they wanted to affiliate with the national organization and those in nearly every state did so. During 1942, the National Convention of the AGSM opened membership to include mothers who lost a son or daughter in WWII and it was reopened again after the Korean conflict.

The Gold Star became a symbol that the honor and glory accorded a person for his/her supreme sacrifice in offering our country the last full measure of devotion. It is also shows the pride of family in this sacrifice rather than a sense of personal loss that is represented by mourning symbols.

The last Sunday in September is designated and known as Gold Star Mothers Day and it is the duty of the President to request its observance. Being given a Gold Star has always been considered exceptional and the mothers who have had to bear the tragic loss of a child through war deserve to be lauded in some way.

We, the members of VFW 4174 salute all Gold Star Mothers and grieve with them for their loss.