Honoring Gold Star Mothers

Yesterday Mother Goose and Husband Goose were invited to participate in an event to honor Gold Star Mothers. Many of my dear readers know that Mother Goose is a double Blue Star Mother — two of my sons serve proudly in the U.S. Navy. Sadly, there are many mothers in Illinois and across our great nation whose brave sons and daughters gave all in service to America. They are the Gold Star Mothers. The pain and the pride in the heart of Gold Star Mother goes above and beyond any ordinary mother’s love.

Because Mother Goose has connections to the Illinois Patriot Guard Riders, we were honored to stand in a flag-line at the entrance to the great hall of the Chicago Cultural Center and then move to the perimeter of the room for the ceremony honoring these mothers and families.

Many people may know of the Patriot Guard Riders. These are the men and women who provide motorcycle escort for the fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen from their touchdown at the airport to the place of their memorial service and then ultimately to their final resting place. The Patriot Guard supports the families, and protects them in the case of “military funeral” protesters and certain obscene extremist groups who oppose the war by aggressively and hatefully interrupting the services for our brave troops.

These proud bikers have huge hearts for the families, and I believe they have great love for one another as well. They were certainly welcoming and kind to this old goose who doesn’t have a leather vest or patches or a roaring Harley to ride, but always wants to be a part of something important nonetheless.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was there. Before the ceremony began, he patrolled the perimeter of the hall and shook the hand of every one of us Patriot Guards (the real ones and those of us who were Guards for the day). He has a very firm and sincere handshake. He spoke well from the platform, invoking the words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah and naming the fallen Heroes a “righteous host”.

Governor Quinn has been to Afghanistan — this Commander-In-Chief of the Illinois National Guard knows very well the sacrifice made by these families. Besides this honorable event, Governor Quinn attends military funerals, visits the families personally and calls them to express his deepest sympathy and gratitude for their unparalleled service to America.

Twelve mothers received Gold Star Banners because their sons and daughters had been killed in action this past year. All of the mothers (and fathers) in attendance were given a beautiful golden rose — the largest roses I had ever seen! One by one they crossed the front of the hall of the Grand Army of the Republic and laid these gorgeous roses at the base of a flag representing a branch of the Armed Forces: Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Most of the roses piled up below the Army and Marine flags, but there were two for the Navy. The tears rolled down the feathery cheeks of Mother Goose as she stood at attention with her American flag. Many of the big tough biker guys were swiping at tears of their own as the moms kept coming forward with their roses, and the vocalist sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

We were not permitted to take photographs at the ceremony, but Mother Goose caught a couple before and after the event.

Bikers milling around the parking garage before we exited for the event. Also, the parents of Army Spec. Cory Hubbell who died in Kuwait in 2003 at the age of twenty.

One of the guys carrying the American flags back to the parking garage.

My friend, Marine veteran and all around great guy, David Hume carrying more flags back to the parking garage.

Many of the Illinois Patriot Guard Riders are veterans.

This morning, the Patriot Guard Riders will be part of the funeral parade for Petty Officer Dion Roberts, KIA last week in Afghanistan. We also hear that yesterday marked the 2,000th American casualty in the Global War on Terrorism. Please pray for peace…

Mother Goose will never forget this experience. It was a privilege and an honor to play a part in this great event — to remember and never forget the men and women who have died in the name of freedom. God, please bless Gold Star Mothers and families with your great comforting love and peace today.

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bunn
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 13:30:21

    Wow what an honor to attend this. Tears rolled down my cheeks too!

    Reply

  2. Natalie
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 13:33:24

    Omigosh, I just kept imagining myself sitting in their chairs, as if I was there as an honored guest instead of a flag bearer. It was heart-rending, but I was filled with a great patriotic pride as well as grief.

    Reply

  3. Dianna
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 15:20:50

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Natalie. I’m sure it was a deeply emotional event.

    Reply

  4. Roberta
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 21:42:23

    Thank you for sharing your very special moment..

    Reply

  5. Three Well Beings
    Oct 02, 2012 @ 10:03:36

    What a wonderful honor for you and Mr. Goose. I can only imagine how those tears flowed! I hadn’t heard of the statistic marking the 2,000th American casualty, but, for some reason, I woke up this morning thinking about the book I read at least three years ago on the life of Pat Tillman. I got onto a train of thought that simply made me very sad. I’m so glad you had the opportunity to step in for such an amazingly reverent event, shared the good natures of these special bikers, and reminded us of the on-going sacrifices being made by men, women and their families. I stand utterly in awe of the men and women who serve! oxo

    Reply

    • Natalie
      Oct 02, 2012 @ 12:31:13

      Debra, you are such a good Patriot — it’s difficult to attend these events because I know I’m going to break down — it’s very close to my heart though. And if I can do something, ANYTHING, to show them that their son or daughter’s sacrifice is meaningful, I really try to do it. Thanks so much for caring!

      Reply

  6. Natalie
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 10:58:27

    The Governor’s office posted a video of the event yesterday. And, yes, there’s Mother Goose standing with her flag. Here’s the link:

    Reply

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