Wednesday, September 30, 2015

TSLA Honors Gold Star Mothers Day

The month of September includes a very important day for all Gold Star mothers. In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Mother’s Day." The honor and tradition of the Gold Star continues to this day to remember the sacrifice given by our men and women who lost their lives in duty.

Raymond E Barnes, Soldier from Benton County.

The Gold Star program began during World War I when military families hung service flags in the windows of their homes. The flags had a star for each family member in military service. Those living were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives in action were represented by a gold star. On September 24, President Obama signed a presidential proclamation proclaiming September 27 as Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.

Private, S.J. Banks, Soldier from Davidson County.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives has our very own Gold Star Collection. In 1922, John Trotwood Moore, Tennessee state librarian and archivist, reached out to 4,000 military families, asking for records of war heroes and Tennessee’s “Gold Star boys." In return, he received more than 1,500 replies. In 1979, the Gold Star Records were microfilmed.

Private Joseph Adams, “Gold Star boy” from Grainger County, Dec. 26, 1922.

In a letter, Moore wrote: “It is difficult for me, however, nor would I presume to attempt it, to designate which of the mothers of Tennessee made the greatest sacrifice in giving her boy to her country…..When I look at the faces of the photographs collected for our historical department, of nearly 5000 Tennessee boys who made the supreme sacrifice, I feel that every mother of these boys is entitled to the crowning glory you have designated (of making the greatest sacrifice during the war)….”

“Gold Star Boys, WWI” monument, located in Lawrence County Tennessee.

Tennessee's Gold Star collection is available for research at the Library & Archives building, and work is underway to digitize the collection for Tennessee Virtual Archive by Veterans Day 2016. In the meantime, we encourage you to learn more about these historically important records on the TSLA website at:

The State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

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