9/29/2010  By Pfc. Christofer P. Baines  , Headquarters Marine Corps

ARLINGTON, Va.  — Since 1938, the last Sunday of September marks Gold Star Mothers Day’s, a solemn day of remembrance which honors the sacrifice of mothers who have lost children in war.

During this year’s Sunday ceremony, Gold Star Mothers President Molly Morel and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton W. Kent laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery.

Before the wreath laying, Kent honored the sacrifices of Gold Star Mothers and reassured them that their loss is not in vain, citing progress made in both current conflicts, and what the military has done to keep this nation and others free.

The Gold Star Mothers also hosted a banquet Saturday night, honoring guests such as the wounded warriors of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, members of Rolling Thunder and several other individuals.

The key note speaker for the banquet was Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. While serving as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois National guard in 2004, she lost her legs after being ambushed in Iraq while flying a combat mission.

 “We do not forget,” Duckworth said. “We’re doing what we’re doing because we were given the gift of coming home.”

A commemorative envelope and stamp were presented to Gold Star Mothers President Molly Morel by Helga M. Knapp of the Gold Star Wives Potomac Area Chapter. Several organizations, to include Rolling Thunder and the Mavericks Motorcycle Club, made generous donations during the event.

Bennie Potter and Western Electric, the night’s entertainment, concluded the event with a song called “Gold Star Mother,” in honor of the sacrifices military mothers must make.

Mike “Mountain” Mandel, a member of the Mavericks MC, said the sincerity of the Gold Star moms and their patriotism was heartwarming.

Mandel also said the Sunday ceremony was breathtaking, leaving him “absolutely speechless.”

“It brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “It really grabbed me by the heart.”

The Gold Star Mothers organization was founded June 4, 1928, when 25 mothers met in the nation’s capital to establish American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. The organization is named after the gold star placed on service flags hung in honor of a deceased service member.

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