I was speaking to my neighbor and friend regarding the article posted in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on July 11, 2010 by her sister Kathy. Please take the time to read it. Last year her son died while serving in Afghanistan and I wrote a post about that here.
On July 3 I had the honor of representing the Gold Star Mothers in the Brentwood Fourth of July Parade.
As we were en route with the parade, we made numerous stops along the way waiting for others to catch up in the parade. While our car was stopped at one point, a young mother pointed at our car and made the comment "That's the club where I belong," as though it were a "super mom club" or something.
At that point I thought to myself, she had no idea what she had just said. Did she know what a Gold Star Mother was? As we continued on the parade route, the only people in the crowd who saluted us or cheered for us were those who were from the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War era. The younger people had no idea what we represented.
Granted, until my son joined the Marines eight years ago, I too had no idea what a Blue Star Mother or a Gold Star Mother was. Blue Star Mothers have or have had children serving our nation in the military; Gold Star Mothers have lost a son or daughter in the service of the country. Unfortunately, I learned what it was like to become a Gold Star Mother on July 23, 2009, when my son, Sgt. Ryan H. Lane, USMC, was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan.
I would like people to know that for every soldier who is killed in war, he or she is someone's son, daughter, husband, wife, brother or sister. People today need to be educated on the cost of their freedom -- the freedom they have to sit and watch a parade go by.
As for the woman who wanted to be in my "club," I would gladly trade places with her.
What this article and this family has taught me is about the families we take for granted. How we may show support and thanks but not really educate ourselves or our youngest generation WHO we are supporting. We say we show thanks to the family of all those serving, but do we know that this is a BLUE STAR family? We say we show our sympathies to those who have lost family while serving, but do we know this is a GOLD STAR family? I know that I never realized who they were and what one meant from the other and how when someone from these clubs asks for our support, they are asking on behalf of those that have sacrificed much and continue to sacrifice every day.
I still want to say how much I really do appreciate you, and your family for teaching me HOW to really SEE the war. Before Ryan I never knew. I never knew what it really meant for someone to serve. I also want to say how much I wish I could take away the loss and the grief. I would give much to take that away for you. Bless you and the many families that stand beside you in your experience.
Love and Aloha,