The Majesty of a Mother’s Love

by Lois bolin
Old Naples Historian

“No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love,” which is why every second Sunday in May, Americans take this day to appreciate Mothers.

This May, I’d like to recognize a special group of Mothers – Silver, Blue and Gold Star Mothers.

BETH HAELY, POLLY CREWS AND JOANNE MAITLAND

GOLD STAR

During World War I, American women wore a blue star around their left arm if their child was in active duty. Sadly, as the war progressed so did the number of those who gave their all and these Mothers wanted to express their loss, as well as the pride and honor they felt for their country.

The Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense suggested sewing a gold star over the blue star. When the idea was presented to President Woodrow Wilson, the practice was adopted in 1918.

On June 4, 1928, twenty-five mothers in Washington D. C. formed a non-profit organization designated as the American Gold Star Mothers. Each state began to organize a chapter, which delivered lessons of patriotism, and perpetuated the memories of loved ones.

Each year since 1936, on the last Sunday in September, Gold Star Mother’s Day has been observed by presidential proclamation.

LOIS BOLIN, POLLY CREWS AND JULIE CAMPBELL

BLUE STAR

On January 22, 1942, mothers of active serviceman were asked to return a coupon from a Flint News advertiser. Twelve days later, 300 coupon-holding mothers met in the Durant Hotel, in Flint, Michigan. After receiving over 1000 responses from the ad on February 6th, the organization was reported on the Congressional record. Chapters soon formed in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, California, Iowa and Washington.

In June of 1960 Blue Star Mothers of America Inc. was chartered by Congress.

SILVER STAR

Silver Star Families, founded in 2005, recognizes, remembers and assists the wounded of our Armed Forces.

LANGUAGE OF LOVE

Six years ago, I became acquainted with these groups at a Naples Spirit of ‘45 event, the Greatest Generation and Beyond Breakfast.

Polly Crews, (aka Miss Polly), the oldest living Gold Star Mother in Florida expressed her desire to start a SWFL Gold Star Mother chapter.

“Yes Ma’am,” I replied and waited for my directions.

While, an illness took her off course for a few years, today at age 93, she began gearing up to accomplish her “golden mission.”

This past March 11th, Miss Polly hosted a ‘get acquainted tea’ for Gold, Blue, and Silver Star Mothers (and Families), as well as community supporters.

Each guests introduced themselves and Miss Polly’s daughter, Marilyn Thompson, introduced the new Gold Star Mother’s license plate she helped to facilitate through the Florida Legislature.

The reins of the newly formed chapter were passed to Beth Haely, of Fort Myers, whose son, Marine Cpl. Thomas Jardas, was killed in a helicopter crash last year in Hawaii. Until the fledgling chapter has taken flight, Miss Polly will continue to be a liaison and can be reached at 239.207.4442. Should you not reach her or her voicemail; don’t be alarmed. She puts her cell phone to good use and chooses not to have a voicemail.

She said, “If it’s important they will call back. My attention is on the task at hand.” Watching her thoughtfulness and attention to detail was nothing less that awe-inspiring. Miss Polly is, as Edwin Hubbell  Chapin wrote, the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love.

This coming August 12th and 13th, Gold Star Mother, Polly Crews and Blue Star Mother, Julie Campbell, can be found volunteering at the 8th Annual Greatest Generation & Beyond Breakfast held at the Naples Hilton and at Taps Across America held at sunset at Lowdermilk Park. If you know a WWII Veteran, Gold or Blue Star Mother, let them know of these two special days. You can get more information by calling Lois Bolin at 239.777.2281 or emailing lois@loisbolin.com.

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