Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gold Star Moms

Poet Warrior Project Archives

Tribute: "To a Gold Star Mom"

Lloyd A. King, US Army, 101st Airborne Division-Airmobile (1968 and 1969), author, FROM 'NAM WITH LOVE

Note: On May 27, 2006, in Lafayette, Louisiana, an area that missed the full force of two hurricanes and helped nearly 100,000 Louisiana citizens ravaged by the hurricanes, a momentous event took place.

Star poet warrior Lloyd A. King joined all generations of veterans organizations such as the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Marine Corps League, active, guard, and reserve units, the Military Order of the Purple Heart for combat wounded veterans, the VFW, and Vietnam Veterans of America and their respective members who have fought in foreign wars, the City of Lafayette, and the local news media such as KLFY TV-10 and the Advocate to pay tribute to Louisiana Gold Star Mothers.

Gold Star Mothers, founded during World War II, honors mothers who have lost a son or daughter in war. This is the first time in Lafayette and possibly United States history that the Gold Star Mothers will receive such a tribute. Specifically, the ceremony will pay tribute to 65 Lafayette soldiers killed in Iraq and two killed in Afghanistan.

Lloyd King wrote to us the week of May 22, 2006:

As an individual and combat veteran from the Vietnam War, I was
asked to read a poem from my book. I declined because none of the
poems in my book is suitable for such an event. Instead, I offered to write a
special poem dedicated to the Gold Star Mothers; which I completed about thirty
minutes after I hung up the phone. This was over a month ago.

In addition to this and, as the newly elected commander of our Military
Order of the Purple Heart Chapter here in Lafayette, I asked our members to
consider presenting a special certificate to the mothers and widows
where applicable. Our members readily agreed. However, no existing certificate stated what needed to be said to these mothers and widows. So, I took it upon
myself to design a special certificate that will also be presented on May 27th.

As it has turned out, I will be the keynote presenter, as I will read
both the certificate and the poem and then present a personalized copy of the
poem, which will have the Gold Star Mother's banner, picture of the mother's
child/soldier, and the Purple Heart Medal at the bottom of each poem. Our chapter will be putting the certificates and poems in frames to be presented on May 27.

When we read Lloyd King's poem, it moved us to tears the way that, fittingly, Pfc Jamie A. Goldstein's "When Eagles Learn To Fly" did. Since the Poet Warrior Project was inspired by the mother of a soldier, Pfc Goldstein's mom, we want to honor those military moms and families to whom America owes so much. We salute those fallen Louisiana soldiers and the many other soldiers that died in the war in Iraq, and we respect and recognize the sacrifices made by their families.

The Poet Warrior Project is proud to commemorate Memorial Day, May 29, 2006, with a poem by one of the finest poet warriors we've ever met, a true American hero like the moms and the fallen soldiers, whose wisdom, courage, and caring should be a beacon for us all.

"To a Gold Star Mom"

As a mother, you never dreamed though a bit chagrined

That the child you nurtured, loved, and disciplined

Would leave home without your watchful eye unprotected

And face the world alone while being subjected

To life’s wrath and to mankind’s unthinkable wickedness

Na├»vely stating, “I’m going to fix the world’s mess.”

As a mother, you developed your offspring’s foundation

Though some days, tears were felt, instead of elation

Yet, lessons you learned and taught helped you resolve

To allow freedom hoping that right would evolve

But some choices, though tough, left you with little doubt

You might lose your child and be left forever without.

Today we honor your sacrifices and hope you understand

That we are here for you to hold your trembling hand

And let you know your grief is felt from both near and far

Pain felt and seen by everyone like the brightest star

An eternal reminder of your sorrow and of your sacrifice

Knowing your child fought bravely and paid the price.

We honor your love and devotion to a child that is gone

To the memory of a soldier that sees no dusk or dawn

We honor you today as an American Gold Star Mother

And ask your forgiveness, as we remind one another

That freedom has a price and it cost you a daughter or son

Preserving peace though the battle has not been won.

Lloyd A. King, Commander, The Military Order of the Purple Heart, William E. ‘Bill’ McKenzie Chapter #504

Copyright (C) Lloyd A. King, 2006

DISCLAIMER: All poems are the intellectual property of the poets involved and cannot be reproduced without permission.

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