Photo from American Gold Star Mothers Facebook page

From the Orange County Newsroom

Orange County GovernmentThe last Sunday in September is designated as Gold Star Mothers Day. Observing the day began in 1936, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt officially designated the day as a public expression of love, sorrow and reverence from the people of the United States to Gold Star Mothers and their families.

This year on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, 10 a.m., Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings will participate in the Second Annual Gold Star Mothers and Families Day Ceremony hosted by the Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council.

Per the telling on American Gold Star Mothers website, the history of Gold Star Mothers goes back to 1917:

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, George Vaughn Seibold, 23, volunteered, requesting assignment in aviation. He was sent to Canada where he learned to fly British planes since the United States had neither an air force nor planes. Deployed to England, he was assigned to the British Royal Flying Corps, 148th Aero Squadron. With his squadron, he left for combat duty in France. He corresponded with his family regularly. His mother, Grace Darling Seibold, began to do community service by visiting returning servicemen in the hospitals.

One day, the mail from George stopped. Since all aviators were under British control and authority, the United States could not help the Seibold family with any information about their son.

Grace continued to visit hospitalized veterans in the Washington area, clinging to the hope that her son might have been injured and returned to the United States without any identification. While working through her sorrow, she helped ease the pain of the many servicemen who returned so war-damaged that they were incapable of ever reaching normalcy.

On October 11, 1918, George’s wife in Chicago received a box marked “Effects of deceased Officer 1st Lt. George Vaughn Seibold”. The Seibold’s also received a confirmation of George’s death on November 4th through a family member in Paris. And on Sunday, December 15, 1918, nine days before Christmas Eve, the following obituary appeared in the Washington Star newspaper:

“Lieut. G. V. Seibold Killed in Action – Battling Aviator, Recently Cited for Bravery in France, is War Victim. Lieut. George Vaughn Seibold, battling aviator, cited for bravery in action some time ago, lost his life in a fight in the air August 26, last. His father, George G. Seibold… has been officially notified of his son’s death by the War Department.

Lieut. Seibold was a member of the 148th U. S. Aero Squadron. He was first reported missing in action, though a number of circumstances led to the fear that he had been killed. Hope was sustained until now, however, by the failure to receive definite word.”

George’s body was never identified.

Grace, realizing that self-contained grief is self-destructive, devoted her time and efforts to not only working in the hospital but extending the hand of friendship to other mothers whose sons had lost their lives in military service. She organized a group consisting solely of these special mothers, with the purpose of not only comforting each other, but giving loving care to hospitalized veterans confined in government hospitals far from home. The organization was named after the Gold Star that families hung in their windows in honor of the deceased veteran.

After years of planning, twenty-five mothers met in Washington, DC on June 4, 1928, to establish the national organization, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. The success of this organization continues because of the bond of mutual love, sympathy, and support of the many loyal, capable, and patriotic mothers who while sharing their grief and their pride, have channeled their time, efforts and gifts to lessening the pain of others.

During the virtual event, Gold Star families, who have lost a loved one during any period of war or hostilities in which the U.S. Armed Forces were engaged, will be recognized. This event will allow members of the community to understand the price that a family of a fallen service member has paid, in the cause of freedom.

The 20-minute ceremony will feature over 20 local fallen soldiers.

The presenters will include Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings, First Sergeant Daila Espeut-Jones, U.S. Army (Ret.), Chair, Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council, Command Sergeant Major Tommie Maldonado, U.S. Army (Ret.), Orange County Veterans Service Officer, Paulette Julien, U.S. Navy Veteran, Chaplain, Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council, and Sergeant Fred Robinson, USMC Veteran, Vice Chair, Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council.

Orange TV will broadcast the virtual ceremony.  Viewing options include Channel 488 on Spectrum, Channel 9 on Comcast, 1081 CenturyLink Prism TV,  WSWF Channel 10.2 (over the air), stream live at www.ocfl.net/orangetv and you can view via the Orange TV app on ROKU in the Education category.

To learn more about the Orange County Veterans Council and resources and services available to Veterans, please visit: www.ocfl.net/veteransadvisorycouncil

Orange County Government strives to serve its citizens and guests with integrity, honesty, fairness and professionalism. Located in Central Florida, Orange County includes 13 municipalities and is home to world-famous theme parks, the nation’s second-largest convention center, and a thriving life science research park. Seven elected members make up the Board of County Commissioners including the Mayor who is elected countywide. For more information, please visit www.OCFL.net or go to the Orange County Facebook and Twitter pages.

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