For Gold Star Mothers, a War Without End
If you look closely next time you’re driving through a neighborhood, you may see a banner hanging in a window: a white field with a thick red border and a blue star in the center. The Service Flag, which has been around since World War I, indicates that a family has a son or a daughter, a spouse or a sibling, serving in the armed forces during a time of war. During World War II, it was not uncommon to see banners hanging in windows with three or four blue stars as multiple members of a family were fighting overseas.
Much less frequently you might see the same banner, only instead of a dark blue star, there will be a gold one meaning that family lost a loved one in the service of their country. Gold Star Mothers are women who have literally borne the troops that have made the ultimate sacrifice. For them, the war doesn’t end.
Two years ago, President Obama issued a proclamation making the last Sunday in September — that would be today — Gold Star Mothers and Families Day. One of the women honored on Sunday was Mary Aguirre, the mother of a brave soldier I served with who was killed nearly six years ago. “It’s been six years and I have to remind myself that the reality is he’s not returning,” Ms. Aguirre says. “But the celebration is more in the forefront now.”
In her son Nathaniel, Mary Aguirre has a lot to celebrate. “They called him the Junior Toastmaster when he was a little kid,” she explains. “He could enter a room full of people and before he left he’d already talked to everybody, shook their hand, made them laugh. He loved life.”