Sunday, September 09, 2012
Gold Star Mother Tea
Yesterday, however, the blessing went beyond the norm. I was invited to share a story at a Gold Star Mothers tea presented at The Stillwater est. 1997. The gold star represents those who have lost a son or daughter in battle. Every guest at the tea was someone who had experienced such a loss. Miss Tonia had told me that she had felt a tangible reverence as she had been preparing for the tea, so I thought I knew how I would feel. In truth, I didn't have a clue.
In truth I felt reverence and so much more. I also felt an overwhelming wave of pride and shame.
Pride because our nation has a completely volunteer army. There are those who claim this negates the honor somehow, as if they are all mercenaries, not patriots. Nothing could be further from the truth. A sentiment I heard voiced over and over is that these warriors were there because they felt it was where they should be. One mother shared the peace she felt from a picture of her son taken just the day before he died. The image is of children reaching out to her son [in full battle array] with obvious gratitude on their faces. The son's arm is outstretched back to the children, the look on his face is one of pure love and joy. A burned out building creates a stunning backdrop to the image. She declared the picture brought comfort because it reminded her that he was where he knew he was supposed to be serving to make the world a better place for those children and for all of us.
Shame because as a nation we've turned this into a silent war. We support the troops, we put the yellow ribbons on our cars and we thank those in uniform we see....but what of those we lose? Someone expressed to me the helplessness she feels when she sees the gold star. "I don't know what to say, nothing I say will help them, so I say nothing." I don't think she is alone in her discomfort. Can you imagine the deafening silence such an act creates in the lives of those who mourn a soldier?
I read an article yesterday that declared on average we've lost a soldier a day. Statistically, that's a dramatic improvement over the losses our nation suffered in past wars, but statistics mean nothing to the families of those dead soldiers.
To learn more about the Gold Star Moms organization visit: