When the United States entered World War I in 1917, George Vaughn Seibold, 23,
volunteered, requesting assignment in aviation. He was sent to Canada where he learned to
fly British planes since the United States had neither an air force nor planes. Deployed
to England, he was assigned to the British Royal Flying Corps, 148th Aero Squadron. With
his squadron, he left for combat duty in France. He corresponded with his family
regularly. His mother, Grace Darling Seibold, began to do community service by visiting
returning servicemen in the hospitals.
The mail from George stopped. Since all aviators were under British control and authority,
the United States could not help the Seibold family with any information about their son.
Grace continued to visit hospitalized veterans in the Washington area, clinging to the
hope that her son might have been injured and returned to the United States without any
identification. While working through her sorrow, she helped ease the pain of the many
servicemen who returned so war-damaged that they were incapable of ever reaching normalcy.
Grace Darling Seibold
But on October 11, 1918, George's wife in Chicago received a box marked "Effects of
deceased Officer 1st Lt. George Vaughn Seibold". The Seibolds also received a
confirmation of George's death on November 4th through a family member in
On Sunday, December 15, 1918, nine days before Christmas Eve, the
following obituary appeared in the Washington Star newspaper:
Lieut. G. V. Seibold Killed in Action
Battling Aviator, Recently Cited for Bravery in France, is War Victim.
Lieut. George Vaughn Seibold, battling aviator, cited for bravery in action
some time ago, lost his life in a fight in the air August 26, last. His
father, George G. Seibold…has been officially notified of his son’s death by
the War Department.
Lieut. Seibold was a member of the 148th U. S. Aero Squadron. He was first
reported missing in action, though a number of circumstances led to the fear
that he had been killed. Hope was sustained until now, however, by the
failure to receive definite word.
George's body was never identified.
Grace, realizing that self-contained grief is self-destructive, devoted her time and
efforts to not only working in the hospital but extending the hand of friendship to other
mothers whose sons had lost their lives in military service.
She organized a group consisting solely of these special mothers, with the purpose of not
only comforting each other, but giving loving care to hospitalized veterans confined in
government hospitals far from home.
The organization was named after the Gold Star that families hung in their windows in
honor of the deceased veteran.
After years of planning, June 4, 1928, twenty-five mothers met in Washington, DC to
establish the national organization, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
The success of our organization continues because of the bond of mutual love, sympathy,
and support of the many loyal, capable, and patriotic mothers who while sharing their
grief and their pride, have channeled their time, efforts and gifts to lessening the pain
We stand tall and proud by honoring our children, assisting our veterans, supporting our
nation, and healing with each other.
On May 28, 1918, President Wilson approved a suggestion made by the Womens
Committee of the Council of National Defenses that, instead of wearing conventional
mourning for relatives who have died in the service of their country, American women
should wear a black band on the left arm with a gilt star on the band for each member of
the family who has given his life for the nation.
“The Service Flag displayed from homes, places of business, churches,
schools, etc., to indicate the number of members of the family or
organizations who are serving in the Armed Forces or who have died from such
service. Service flags have a deep Blue Star for each living member in the
service and a Gold Star for each member who has died.” Thus, the Gold Star
and the term Gold Star Mother, as applied to mothers whose sons or daughters
died in World War I, were accepted; they have continued to be used in
reference to all American military engagements since that time.
Who Is a Gold Star Mother?
Often the question has been asked, Who is a Gold Star Mother? During the
early days of World War I, a Blue Star was used to represent each person, man or woman in
the Military Service of the United States. As the war progressed and men were killed in
combat, others wounded and died of their wounds or disease, there came about the accepted
usage of the Gold Star.
This Gold Star was substituted and superimposed upon the blue Star in such a manner as to
entirely cover it. The idea of the Gold Star was that the honor and glory accorded the
person for his supreme sacrifice in offering for his country, the last full measure of
devotion and pride of the family in this sacrifice, rather than the sense of personal loss
which would be represented by the mourning symbols.
On June 4, 1928, a group of twenty-five mothers residing in Washington, DC, met to make
plans to organize a national organization to be known as American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.,
a nondenominational, non-profitable and nonpolitical organization. On January 5, 1929, the
organization was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia.
The Charter was kept open for ninety days. At the end of this time they had a membership
of sixty-five, which included mothers throughout the United States: North, South, East and
There were many small groups of Gold Star Mothers functioning under local and state
charters. When these groups learned of a national organization with representation in
nearly every State in the Union they wished to affiliate with the larger group and many
did so. This group was composed of women who had lost a son or daughter in World War I.
Beyond World War I
During the 1942 National Convention of the AGSM, the membership was opened to mothers who had lost
a son or daughter in World War II and was again opened after the Korean Conflict.
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. is registered in the United States Patent Office,
Legislative Branch of the United States Congressional Library and the United States World
The original copy of the Federal Charter granted to the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
was placed in the Archives of Congress.
One June 12th, 1984 the Ninety-Eighth Congress of the United States granted the American
Gold Star Mothers, Inc. a charter. Sec. 3 lists the objects and purposes for which the
corporation is organized, shall be those provided in its articles of incorporation, and
shall include a continuing commitment, on a national basis.
- Keep alive and develop the spirit that promoted world services.
- Maintain the ties of fellowship born of that service, and to assist and further all
- Inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, State, and Nation.
- Assist veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and other
strategic areas and their dependents in the presentation of claims to the Veterans
Administration, and to aid in any way in their power the men and women who served and died
or were wounded or incapacitated during hostilities.
- Perpetuate the memory of those whose lives were sacrificed in our wars.
- Maintain true allegiance to the United States of America.
- Inculcate lessons of patriotism and love of country in the communities in which we live.
- Inspire respect for the Stars and Stripes in the youth of America.
- Extend needful assistance to all Gold Star Mothers and, when possible, to their
- To promote peace and good will for the United States and all other Nations.
We are an organization of mothers whose sons or daughters served and died that this
world might be a better place in which to live.
Natural Mothers, who are citizens of the United States of America or of the Territorial
and Insular Possessions of the United States of America, whose sons and daughters served
and died in line of duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America or its
Allies, or died as a result of injuries sustained in such service, are eligible for
membership in American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. Adoptive Mothers and Stepmothers who reared
the child from the age of five years whose natural mother is deceased, are also eligible
under the above conditions.
The minimum membership of a new Chapter shall be five eligible members. Departments are
composed of Chapters within their respective States or such other Chapters as the National
Executive Board shall approve.
Husbands of a member and siblings of the
deceased may be enrolled as an Associate
Member, paying no dues, holding no office nor having a vote. There is no form or class of
membership except as active membership and dues are paid annually. Members-at-large
forward their yearly membership per capita to the Department Treasurer of their state.
An honorary membership to the American Gold Star Mothers Inc. may
be granted to mothers who were not citizens at the time of their
sons’ or daughters’ induction into the United States Armed Forces
and whose sons’ or daughters’ died while on active duty, became
missing in action, or died as a result of such service. They pay no
dues, hold no office and have no vote.
A National Convention is held annually at a time and place decided by a preceding
convention; or, in the event such time and place is not voted by the National Convention,
then it shall be decided by the National Executive board. The purpose of the National
Convention is to elect officers for the ensuing year and to transact any and all business
as may properly come before it.
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. is a member of the Advisory Board of the Veterans
Administration Voluntary Service. Almost all Chapters of American gold Star Mothers
throughout the United States of America give many hours of volunteer work and personal
service in all Hospitals for Veterans and to the veterans and their families in their
community. The organization works closely with all Veterans Organizations.
Proclamation by the President of the United States
Whereas the preamble to Public Resolution 123, 74th Congress, approved June 23, 1936
(40 Stat. 1895), recites:
Whereas the service rendered the United States by the American mother is the greatest
source of the Countrys strength and inspiration; and Whereas we honor
ourselves and the mothers of America when we revere and give emphasis to the home as the
fountainhead of the State; and
Whereas the American mother is doing so much for the home and for the moral and
spiritual uplift of the people of the United States and hence so much for good government
and humanity; and
Whereas the American Gold Star Mothers suffered the supreme sacrifice of motherhood
in the loss of their sons and daughters in World Wars
and Whereas the said Public Resolution 12 provides:
That the President of the United States is hereby authorized and requested to issue
a proclamation calling upon the Government officials to display the United States flag on
all Government buildings, and the people of the United States to display the flag and to
hold appropriate meetings in their homes, churches, or other suitable places, on the last
Sunday in September, as public expression of the love, sorrow and reverence of the people
of the United States for the American Gold Star Mothers."
Sec. 2. That the last Sunday in September shall hereafter be designated and known as
Gold Star Mothers Day, and it shall be the duty of the President to
request its observance as provided for in this resolution.