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Southwest Oklahoma MOAA

Southwest Oklahoma MOAA




Southwest Oklahoma MOAA
Thought for the Week...

The power of excellence is overwhelming.  It is always in demand and nobody cares about its color.  GEN (Ret) Daniel S. "Chappie" James  

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Freedom Is Not Free
The picture of Mrs. Ryan receiving official notification of the death of her sons is one of the most memorable and heart wrenching scenes from the movie, Saving Private Ryan.  Just before she receives the news, you get a quick glimpse of the Service Flag in her window with four blue stars denoting that she had four sons serving in World War II.   As she falls to her knees you almost feel her anguish and pain as she awaits the dreaded news. 
 
National Gold Star Mother’s Day, also known as National Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day, is observed annually on the last Sunday in September.  National Gold Star Mother’s Day was created to recognize and honor those that have lost their son or daughter while serving our country in the United States Armed Forces.  A gold star symbolizes a family member who died in the line of duty while serving the United States Armed Forces.
 
On June 23, 1936, a joint congressional resolution designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother’s Day and proclaimed annually by each president.  In 2011, President Barack Obama amended the day to “Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.”
 
The history of National Gold Star Mother’s Day begins with the United States being in the midst of World War I.  Army Captian Robert L. Queissner, sought a way to honor his sons’ military service.  His two sons were serving on the front line during World War I.  He created what is now called the Service Flag.  Other families soon adopted his blue-star flag to indicate active duty service in the war.  When a service member died, families stitched a gold star over the blue star.  The Department of Defense eventually authorized the display of the flags during times when the country is engaged in hostilities or war.
 
A Service Flag has a white field, is edged with red, and can hold up to five blue stars.  The blue of those stars symbolizes hope and pride for the service of a family member. The flags are displayed facing out in a front window.  Silver stars, which indicate a family member wounded in action, symbolize gallantry.  Gold stars, added for family members killed during active duty, stand for sacrifice made for honor and freedom.  The gold or silver stars are made slightly smaller than the original, so that a thin border of blue shows around the addition.
 
An ocean often divided families from their deceased sons, as was the case of the founder of the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. organization, Grace Darling Seibold.  While waiting for confirmation of her son’s death, she visited the VA hospital almost daily and made herself useful in the process.  Afterward, she continued to visit the hospital and formed the organization that unites gold star mothers still today.
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