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Archive for the tag “Gold Star Mothers”



Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today, celebrated as Gold Star Mother’s Day in the United States, is also honored in the state of Tennessee this year by a proclamation issued by Governor Bill Haslam.*

The proclamation was presented on September 22, 2012 to the Volunteer Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers at the American Legion Post 2 here in Knoxville. 

The chapter represents mothers living in Knox County & surrounding counties of eastern Tennessee who have sons and daughters who lost their lives while on active duty in the armed services of the United States.

Source:  Knoxville News-Sentinel, Sept 29, 2012

*William Edward “Bill” Haslam, born in Knoxville, Tn. in 1958, is the 49th Governor of the state of Tennessee.  He is the son of Jim Haslam, founder of Pilot Oil Corporation.  Before being elected governor, Bill Haslam was May of Knoxville, 2003-2011.


Jennifer White & Bill Haslam, Haslam Campaign HQs, Johnson City, Tennessee, 2010


Gold Star Mother’s Day is observed nationally on the last Sunday in September.

The President of the United States calls on Americans to display, on this day, the American flag & to publicly express their “love, sorrow & reverence” toward Gold Star Mothers & their families.

The name, “Gold Star Mothers,” comes from the custom of families of American service men & women displaying a service flag in the front window of their homes.

A BLUE STAR represented a family member in active service, but this was changed to a GOLD STAR if that son or daughter lost their lives in the service of the United States.

The Gold Star Mother’s Organization was formed in 1928 & Gold Star Mother’s Day was established by Congress on June 23, 1936.


Gold Star Mothers Memorial, Ocala, Florida, Photo by Mark L. Pearcy, 2010


Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) John F. Kennedy, Democratic candidate for the 11th District seat in the United States Congress, addressed a group of Gold Star Mothers today.

The young candidate spoke on the war & its impact on the families of men & women in service.

Near the end of his speech, Mr. Kennedy spoke from personal experience when he said:

“I think I know how you mothers must feel because my mother’s a Gold Star Mother too.”**

**Rose Kennedy lost her first born son, JFK’s brother, Joseph P. “Joe” Kennedy, Jr. during World War II.  In 1946, JFK was elected to Congress & sworn in, January 1947.


World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo by John White, 2011



May 3, 2012

“JOHNNY WE HARDLY KNEW YE”: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Getting Into Politics I.

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we begin our report on Chapter 2 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.

The title of Chapter 2 is “Getting Into Politics”.

This chapter begins with the widely known account of why JFK decided to make politics his career: Older brother Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. was the “chosen one” to one day become the 1st Irish Catholic President of the United States but with his death in 1944 that role would shift to Jack Kennedy.

According to O’Donnell & Powers….

“To anybody who knew the Kennedys that tale does not hold water.  Actually, Jack did not finally decide to go into politics…until more than a year after Joe’s death.”

On the other hand, the author’s do agree that the death of Joe Jr. was a key factor because it opened up the opportunity for Jack Kennedy.

As is also widely known today, JFK, in 1946, lacked the political personality of his older brother.  Joe Senior would even say after Jack was elected to Congress: “I never thought Jack had it in him.”

But Jack needed people with political experience with him.  He was advised to get DAVE POWERS because “he knew every voter in Charlestown by his first name.”

On January 21, 1946, a day less than 14 years before he would be sworn in as President of the United States, young Jack Kennedy “climbed….(the) stairs to the top floor of the three-decker at 88 Ferrin Street….& knocked on the front door.”

Dave Powers opened the door & “this tall & thin, handsome young fellow….stuck out his hand & said, ‘My name is Jack Kennedy.  I’m a candidate for Congress.'”

Dave listened to Jack & agreed to go with him to a meeting of “Gold Star Mothers.”  

These were moms who had lost sons in WWII.

This was the same story I told my students for 40 years.  The speech, one of Jack’s first, was short & to the point but at the end he paused & said: 

“I think I know how all you mothers feel because my mother is a gold star mother, too.”

Dave remembers how all the women ran up to Jack to shake his hand & were saying how much he reminded them of their own sons. 

“They all had stars in their eyes.  It took (Jack) a half hour to pull himself away from them.  They didn’t want him to leave.”

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