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Supporting Gold Star Mothers Day

Location: Washington, DC

SUPPORTING GOLD STAR MOTHERS DAY -- (House of Representatives - September 21, 2005)


Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend and colleague, the gentleman from Minnesota (Chairman Gutknecht), for offering this legislation. It is very timely and extremely important. I also thank him for his sensitivity to our Nation's Gold Star Mothers who have suffered so much.

I am proud to rise today, Mr. Speaker, to strongly support H.J. Res. 61, which recognizes a group of very, very special women, American's Gold Star Mothers. These women are from different parts of our great country and have different backgrounds, are of varying age, hold different beliefs, and practice different religions.

Despite so many differences, they share the same experience. Each of these women raised a young man or woman who served their country in the Armed Forces. Their children helped to bring freedom and promote peace and justice for those who have never felt its touch. Sadly, Mr. Speaker, each raised a young man or woman who gave their life for their country, the ultimate sacrifice.

These special women, the Gold Star Mothers of America, are members of a congressionally chartered organization. They are part of a group that had its beginning in the first great conflict of the 20th century, World War I. At the time, service flags were displayed on homes that had family members serving the country and blue stars were displayed for each family member in the Armed Forces. Eventually, as casualties grew, the blue stars were turned to gold stars in recognition of each servicemember who died for their country. In 1936, as my friend and colleague, the gentleman from Minnesota (Chairman Gutknecht), said, Congress designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mothers Day.

Mr. Speaker, as we know, their loss is unimaginable, their pain is unspeakable; yet these women find the spirit to walk together simply for the benefit of others and to work very hard for the benefit of others, to make sure that each of us remembers the sacrifice of their son or beloved daughter. They have a unique ability to remind us of our noble cause, ensuring that we will forever remember that America's freedom originated and is maintained through a constant struggle that is still being fought today.

In addition, they remind us that the decision to send troops into harm's way is made with severe consequence, the loss of the precious life of a young American. The way in which these ladies channel their sorrow, their grief, their anger, to further the ideals to which their sons and daughters gave their lives, is truly remarkable.

The actions of these women are amazing. I have met them for years as a Member of this Congress. Every year we would have them testify before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and then in meetings afterwards, as well as in my own district and State, and I have met with so many Gold Star Mothers who tell their stories of their son or daughter, often accompanied with tears.

But they can also teach us a very important lesson, Mr. Speaker. At a time when overt partisanship seems rampant, while our country yearns so desperately for its people to come together on so many fronts, the Gold Star Mothers represent the very best of American values and ideals. If they, despite their grief, can come together to provide so much to other veterans and the community at large, surely we can all take the time to let them know that their country is proud of them and salutes them on their Mothers Day.


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