During World War I, American Women who
had family members serving their country wore a blue star around their
left arm. As this conflict progressed and the number of dead escalated,
mothers wanted to express their loss, as well as the pride and honor
they felt for their country. A suggestion of sewing a gold star over
the blue star was made by The Women’s Committee of the Council of
National Defense. This group presented the idea to President Woodrow
Wilson and the practice was adopted in 1918.
On June 4, 1928, twenty-five mothers in
Washington D. C. banded together to form a non-profit organization
designated as the American Gold Star Mothers. This group espoused all
religious faiths and political beliefs and by January 5, 1929, they
incorporated. Eventually each state would organize their own chapters
and affiliate with the members from Washington.
The organization purchased a building
on May 7, 1954, near the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials. This structure
houses the National Headquarters for the American Gold Star Mothers,
Inc. located at 2128 Leroy Place N.W., Washington D.C. This facility
contains the records and information for the club, and its records of
deceased soldiers from World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict,
Vietnam War and now the Iraq War.
On June 12, 1984, The American Gold Star
Mothers received their charter with the adoption of the following goals:
a) Keep alive and develop the spirit
that promoted world services;
b) Maintain the ties of fellowship born
of that service, and to assist and further all patriotic work;
c) Inculcate a sense of individual
obligation to the community, State, and Nation;
d) Assist veterans of World War I,
World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam and other strategic areas
and their dependents in the presentation of claims to the Veterans’
Administration, and to aid in any
way in their power the men and women who served and died or were wounded
or incapacitated during
e) Perpetuate the memory of those whose
lives were sacrificed in our wars;
f) Maintain true allegiance to the
United States of America;
g) Inculcate lessons of patriotism and
love of country in the communities in which we live;
h) Inspire respect for the Stars and
Stripes in the youth of America;
i) Extend needful assistance to all
Gold Star Mothers and, when possible, to their descendents; and
j) To promote peace and good will for
the United States and all other Nations.
Today, the club members carry out the
goals of their charter by helping veterans and their dependants with VA
claims, volunteering in VA Medical Centers, as well as working to
preserve the memory of the deceased. The hard work and dedication that
these women have performed through the years, was finally recognized by
the President and Congress on September 25, 1994, when they designated
the last Sunday of September as the American Gold Star Mother’s Day.
For additional information see:
American Gold Star Collection located at the
Corpus Christi Public Library, as well as the Woman's Monday Club
Collection, Rankin Papers, and the De Garmo Papers. See the
Special Collections & Archives section.
American Gold Star Mothers History,
Still Shining: Gold Star Mothers,
Heroic Sons of Gold Star Mothers.
Compiled by Cecilia Gutierrez Venable.