Gold Star Mother's Day offers Punchbowl lei remembrance
September 28, 2012
HONOLULU, Hawaii (Sept. 28, 2012) -- More than 30 Gold Star Mothers will participate in a Lei of Honor and Remembrance ceremony, 11 a.m., Sept. 30, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, here, in commemoration of national "Gold Star Mother's Day."
During the ceremony, a 10-foot ti leaf lei, created by the participants, will be placed at the base of the Lady Columbia statue. Also, boots of the fallen sons and daughters of the participants will be placed on the steps of the Punchbowl fountain during the brief ceremony.
Traditionally, the last Sunday in September is the day that recognizes and honors all Gold Star mothers. In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson approved the wearing of black armbands bearing a gold star by individuals who had a family member who had died in military service to the U.S. The gold star distinguished these wearers from family members who wore a blue star, which signified a family member was serving on active duty in the armed forces.
The blessing ceremony and commemoration is occurring at the base of the Lady Columbia because the monument represents all grieving mothers of the U.S.
Lady Columbia watches over the fallen who lie in the cemetery.
Engraved at the monument's base are the words of President Abraham Lincoln in a letter he had written to Lydia Bixby of Boston, during the height of the Civil War. She had lost five sons to the Civil War.
"…I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save.
"I pray that our heavenly father may assuage the languish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."
-- President Abraham Lincoln
The Lei of Honor and Remembrance ceremony, coordinated through the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Army Community Service and its Survivor Outreach Services program, invites all Gold Star mothers and family members of service members who have died while in service to our nation to participate.