Mike Broomhead, KFYI talk show host, recently mentioned Gold Star Moms at a Republican Club meeting in Fountain Hills, Arizona. On the way home, my daughter said that she hadn’t heard about Gold Star Mothers. “If I hadn’t researched World War Two for my novel, I may not have known, either,” I told her. Sadly, Mike Broomhead’s brother lost his life on Memorial Day 2003, making his mother a Gold Star Mom.
None of my children have served in the military, but my late husband (along with his identical twin) signed up in the US Army and had his tour of duty extended during the Cuban Crisis. To my knowledge, none of my family has sewn a gold star on a flag. These stars, dating back to WWI, stand for sons and/or daughters who have died serving in the United States’ military. Silver Stars stand for one who was wounded. The blue stars represent a son or daughter in active duty for their Country.
Parents proudly displayed these flags in windows of their homes during wartime, so they could be seen from the street. Passersby could admire the family inside; some might even pray for the soldier’s safe return. Almost everyone recognized the seriousness of the war effort.
In my novel, Foxtrots and Foxholes, the main character’s mother eventually sews a gold star on a flag for her youngest son. Here’s foreshadowing of the scene:
“Dear God! I don’t want to join the hundreds and thousands of Gold Star Mothers. Please, let my sons live. Keep little Victor safe. Oy! Oy veh! Pleading thoughts weaved their way through the fabric of her being just as the thread sank down and came up on the other side of the cotton sheet before her. MIA. Victor. No, Tahlia was not ready to make the supreme sacrifice of motherhood, the loss of her son in WWII. There could be no gold star covering one of the two blue stars of pride and hope on her “Sons in Service” flag. Not of the silk variety purchased retail, but handmade, it hung in her living room window with its red rectangular frame and white background—street view—alongside Old Glory.”
Loss of life is inevitable in time of war. No one wants to lose a loved one. No one wants war. Yet, war is the price of peace.
I cannot feel the pain of a mother’s heart when she must embrace a gold star in place of her son or daughter. The wound is deep. I offer all I can. I give my humble gratitude.
Now, automobile license plates display the gold star and the rifle and combat boots. Inside my soul, I weep for the driver of that car. I enjoy freedom in place of their loss.
In a similar way, at Christmas, I look to heaven’s Gold Star, Messiah Jesus. He was born so everyone could know true freedom from sin warring within our souls. Now that I’ve personally received God’s gift, I have peace…paid for with Jesus’ life.
The biblical Mary was the very first “Gold Star Mother.”
Star of Wonder…pure Gold!
~~Effie-Alean Gross (On 12/23/11)