Cindy Tatum, 2020-21 National President American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
Message, July-August 2020
First, I would like to thank Mona T. Gunn, for leading American Gold Star Mothers in OUR first ever Virtual National Convention! The 83rd Annual American Gold Star Mothers Convention Business Meeting was the first of its kind in the history of our organization. But Mona is no stranger to “firsts.” She removed the color barrier, by serving as THE first African American National President of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. In addition, she was the first to openly discuss the racial diversity of our membership, and whether it mirrors the statistics of military deaths in our country. Mona, YOUR FIRST with AGSM-will only continue as you pursue other avenues to serve our veterans, active duty military, their families and your community. Mona, my friend, I will miss you more than you will ever know.
I would also like to offer my most sincere thanks to all of you who have supported me in one way or another on this Gold Star journey. Each one of the Past National Presidents I have worked with over the past seven years on the National Executive Board have been grace sharing moms on a mission, who kept the mission first, while championing veterans’ causes. We serve, because each one matters. I would like to believe that I am a better person today because of each of you. We have shared tears, laughter and conversations that no one else can understand better than another Gold Star Mother. Whether your child died in combat, by suicide, as the result of a training accident or in a motor vehicle accident, the collective loss of OUR children is the same.
As AGSM Publications Chair for five years, one of my responsibilities was to assemble the convention journal. I can never express to each of you what an honor it was to meet your children face to face; I carry their memories with me every day. There are a couple of characteristics I see in each of their faces:
- the young women are all incredibly beautiful and the young men are extraordinarily handsome,
- they display so much promise for a life that was cut short, too soon,
- and they exemplify strength and commitment-to their country, their families and one another.
Effective tools...as members of AGSM, how do each of us become more effective tools to fulfill the mission of our organization? How do we “sharpen” one another, thus making each of us stronger? When we are strengthened from within, our ability to fulfill our mission to help veterans, active duty military, their families and our communities is strengthened as well. Our resolve and our focus become more clearly defined.
This year, your NEB with the assistance of Past National Presidents and Past National Officers will be implementing some new programs and projects designed to help us strengthen one another. As I mentioned recently during the convention, in May, AGSM received a donation from Justin Verlander and his wife Kate Upton to assist our most needy members and their families who have been negatively impacted by Covid-19. They did this to honor Gold Star Mothers, for Mothers’ Day. The Covid-19 Committee has hit the ground running, please look for more information in this edition of The Gold Star Mother, on the website and in your emails soon.
Speaking of grants, Chapters now have the opportunity to apply for grants to help them fund activities for veterans! These grants are made available by the generous donation AGSM received last year from the Philadelphia Phillies. Five grants for $200.00 each will be awarded each quarter of the year. For more information, go to the Members Only section of the website and this edition of the newsletter. Apply for funds to help defray the costs of your project today and help strengthen our veterans!
The deadline to apply for the Grace Darling Seibold Scholarship, sponsored by Columbia Southern University is August 15, 2020. This is the fifth year this scholarship has been available to our members, Lee-Ann Forsythe, the newly elected National Banner Guard was the recipient last year. There is no better way to strengthen your own tools, than by furthering your education. Please go to our website for more information on how to apply. The announcement of the recipient will be made at the Gold Star Mothers Banquet on September 26, 2020.
Which brings me to Gold Star Mothers Weekend events in Washington, DC. We are continuing with our plans to hold all AGSM events in spite of Covid-19. I have been in touch with our contacts at Arlington National Cemetery, and AGSM is scheduled as of right now, to continue as we have in the past. The dates for you to mark on your calendar are September 25-27, 2020. Last year the Library of Congress sponsored “The Gold Star Event” on the Thursday before Gold Star Mothers Weekend, and it was absolutely wonderful! They displayed many of the artifacts they have in their collection, and it was a humbling experience. Please let Pam Stemple know if you are interested in attending this event. The 2020-2021 National Executive Board will be “officially installed” at the Gold Star Mothers Banquet on September 26. As you are aware, this is a ceremonial installation, but one that is very near and dear to the hearts of our members. We hope you will consider joining us this year in Washington for Gold Star Mothers Weekend Events.
My prayers are that each of you are well, and that you will continue to Strengthen One Another,
Cindy Tatum, National President