SPRINGFIELD, Va.--()--On September 30, 2012, the Military Order of the Purple Heart pays special tribute and gives humble thanks to the parents of servicemen and women who have given their lives in the defense of our nation and therefore have posthumously received the Purple Heart Medal. Since World War I, a simple white flag with a gold star in the center and surrounded by a red border has hung on the homes of the mothers and fathers whose son or daughter was killed by the enemy in wartime. Each year on the last Sunday in September, we pause to honor these special Americans for their supreme sacrifice and sorrow.
“Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.”
In 1918, the mother of 1st LT George Vaughn Seibold, one of the U.S. Army’s first volunteer aviators, wanted to do her part to support the war effort through some sort of community service. Grace Darling Seibold began visiting returning servicemen in the local hospitals in Washington, DC. Then, on August 26, 1918, her family was notified by the War Department that their own son had been killed in the air over France. To help cope with her grief, Grace redoubled her time and efforts to not only working in the hospitals, but extending the hand of friendship to other mothers whose sons had lost their lives in military service. Together, they not only gave comfort to each other, but also loving care to hospitalized veterans confined in government hospitals far from home.
After years of planning, on June 4, 1928, twenty-five mothers met in Washington, DC to establish a national organization, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., named after the Gold Star that families hung in their windows in honor of the deceased veteran. Today, some 1,000 Gold Star Mothers continue to provide 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 all members of the Armed Forces.
The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.," (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all combat wounded veterans and active duty men and women who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America's military history. Most importantly, through veteran service, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance. Through the VAVS Program, MOPH volunteers selflessly provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA medical facilities and State Veterans Homes.