“Gold Star Mothers” – A second collective stamp, also issued in 1948, also was a three-cent stamp that paid tribute to a more traditional women’s role.
Gold Star Mothers were mothers who made the greatest sacrifice in war: they lost a child, almost always a son, to combat. Before becoming a Gold Star Mother, one was a Blue Star Mother, which meant that a woman had at least one child serving in the military. Families displayed their stars on the front windows of homes, and some women wore insignia denoting their status.
Both originated in World War I, but the leader of Gold Star Mothers is more clearly identifiable as Grace Darling Siebold of Washington, DC. What then was known as “the Great War” ended on November 11, 1918 -- but nothing was known of Siebold’s son until Christmas Eve, when his personal possessions arrived without explanation in the daily mail. Even though she had the advantage of living near the War Department, it took months for Siebold to discover that her son had been killed the previous August.
She was determined that no mother would be treated so callously again, and within the next decade, she organized Gold Star Mothers of America, Inc. After its 1928 formation, some mothers traveled to France to view their sons’ graves, and in 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mothers Day. The organization grew to about 22,000 dues-paying members during World War II, but was beginning to decline as this stamp was issued in 1948, three years after the end of that war. Gold Star Mothers Day is rarely noted, although the organization still has an office in Arlington, Virginia.