The name the Gold Star Mothers was derived from the custom of military families who put a service flag near their front window. The flag featured a star for each family member serving in their country – living members were denoted in blue but gold stars honored family members who were killed while in duty. In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson approved the wearing of black arm bands bearing a gilt star by those who had a family member who died in the military service to the United States. This distinguished them from the blue stars, representing a family member presently serving in the armed forces.
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. was incorporated in 1929, obtaining a federal charter from the US Congress. It began with 25 mothers living in the Washington DC area and soon expanded to include affiliated groups throughout the nation. On June 23, 1936, a joint congressional resolution designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother's Day, a holiday that has been observed each year by a presidential proclamation.
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