CNN reports Everyone agrees that Ligaya Lagman is a Gold Star mother, part of the long line of mournful women whose sons or daughters gave their lives for their country. Her 27-year-old son, Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman, was killed last year in Afghanistan when his unit came under fire during a mission to drive out remnants of Taliban and al-Qaida forces. But the largest organization of these women, the American Gold Star Mothers Inc., has rejected Lagman, a Filipino, for membership because -- though a permanent resident and a taxpayer -- she is not a U.S. citizen. "There's nothing we can do because that's what our organization says: You have to be an American citizen," national President Ann Herd said Thursday. "We can't go changing the rules every time the wind blows."
The wind blows very often. Do you really have that many calls for changing the rules, and what other sort of rules chages have you opposed? Gold Star Mothers grew out of the Service Flags displayed in homes, places of business, churches, schools, etc., to indicate the number of members of the family or organizations who are serving in the Armed Forces or who have died from such service. Service flags had a deep Blue Star for each living member in the service and a Gold Star for each member who has died. Usually I believe the Service Flags were displayed inside, but if they were flown from a flag pole they would certainly have been affected by the wind. According to your website, " Natural Mothers, who are citizens of the United States of America or of the Territorial and Insular Possessions of the United States of America, whose sons and daughters served and died in line of duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America or its Allies, or died as a result of injuries sustained in such service, are eligible for membership in American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. Adoptive Mothers and Stepmothers who reared the child from the age of five years whose natural mother is deceased, are also eligible under the above conditions." The Philippines were an American protectorate from 1898 to 1946. Why should the fact that they were granted their independence mean that children of Filipinos that die in service to America deserve less honor than children of mothers who are US Citizens.That explanation isn't satisfying the war veterans who sponsored Lagman's application, some other members of the mothers' group or several members of Congress. "It is disheartening that any mother of a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who has died in the line of duty would be denied membership in an organization that honors the memory of fallen service men and women," said Rep. Nita Lowey, whose district includes Lagman's home in Yonkers.
James Joyner blogged While private organizations
Are they a private organization? They were granted a charter on June 12th, 1984 by the Ninety-Eighth Congress of the United State, and Public Resolution 123, 74th Congress, approved June 23, 1936 (40 Stat. 1895) requires that "it shall be the duty of the President to request its observance" [of last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother’s Day]have every right to decide who to grant membership to, this is an embarrassing situation and incredibly hurtful to Mrs. Lagman. It's clearly time for American Gold Star Mothers to change their rules so that the mother of any U.S. serviceman killed in combat is eligible. Doing that is hardly "changing the rules every time the wind blows." The purpose of the organization is to honor those who have lost a son fighting for our country. Mrs. Lagman certainly qualifies.
Frederick Maryland blogged First of all, yes, Ms. Herd, you can change the rules every time the wind blows -- if that's what your organization feels is appropriate. Secondly, the phrase used by Ms. Herd ("every time the wind blows") seriously cheapens what we're talking about here. A more accurate statement would be: "We can't go changing the rules every time a soldier is killed."
RJ Eskow blogged so it's just the "wind blowing" when a son dies, according to ann herd. she lost a son herself -- you think she'd know better. i'm betting the rules are about to change. either way, here's hoping the winds die down soon.