Photographs By John Murray
Three Waterbury firemen and three Waterbury police officers carry a sculpture of a Gold Star Mother into City Hall Saturday morning. The sculpture, by Andrew Chernak, of Pennsylvania, is one of three in America honoring the sacrifice of parents who have lost a son or daughter in the service of the country. This memorial will be donated to the City of Waterbury from the Waterbury Veterans Memorial Committee on Veterans Day, November 11, 2011, at 7 P.M., in Waterbury City Hall.
Bob Dorr brought the sculpture back from Pennsylvania in a van with Doc D’Occhio. Dorr said, “From 1917, to 2011, 529 men from Waterbury died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. They all had parents that loved them. This Memorial is for those they left behind.”
The Waterbury Veterans Committee raised $70,000 in the past year to purchase the sculpture 500 pound statue.
From the internet...“Shortly after World War I the American Gold Star Mothers Inc. was formed in the United States to provide support for mothers who lost sons or daughters in the war. The name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a banner called a Service Flag in the window of their homes. The Service Flag had a star for each family member in the military. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star. Gold Star Mothers are often socially active but are non-political. Today, membership in the Gold Star Mothers is open to any American woman who has lost a son or daughter in service to the United States. On the last Sunday in September, Gold Star Mother’s Day is observed in the U.S. in their honor.”
Bob Dorr and Wendy D’Occhio cover the bronze memorial to conceal it’s beauty until the dedication ceremony Friday, November 11th.
Today, membership in the Gold Star Mothers is open to any American woman whose child has died in the line of duty of the United States Armed Forces. Stepmothers and adoptive mothers are eligible for membership under certain circumstances. Husbands of Gold Star Mothers may become Associate Members, who do not vote or pay dues.
Gold Star Mothers is made up of local chapters, which are organized into departments. Five members are required to start a local chapter. If no local chapter is available, a woman may join the organization as a member at large.
Just as when it was founded, the Gold Star Mothers continues to concentrate on providing emotional support to its members, doing volunteer work with veterans in general and veterans’ hospitals in particular, and generally fostering a sense of patriotism and respect for members of the Armed Forces.