American Gold Star Moms get it right
The Journal News reports on yesterday's sucessful vote to ammend the organization's rules to allow all Moms of deceased US Soldiers to be members of American Gold Star Moms.
I've blogged about this topic multiple times. Here is one link.
DALLAS — The American Gold Star Mothers agreed yesterday to admit noncitizens into the group for mothers of fallen soldiers, ending a 76-year-old ban that caused an uproar when a woman from Yonkers was denied membership.
Members voted unanimously to change the bylaws, hoping to stem a controversy that generated internal division and outside animosity toward the group.
"We will reach out to the two mothers of the American soldiers whose membership applications are pending due to the U.S. citizenship requirement that was in effect when they applied," said newly elected President Judith Young. "Mothers of United States service personnel who die while serving in the military will not be denied membership based on U.S. citizenship."
The decision means women such as Ligaya Lagman of Yonkers and Carmen Palmer of Mount Vernon — who lost sons in Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, and have pursued membership — now can join.
"We are happy not just for our family but for other mothers who were longing for membership so that they have people to share in their grieving," Chris Lagman, the eldest of the Lagman brothers and the family's spokesman, said after he heard the decision last night. His brother, Anthony, was an Army staff sergeant — and a U.S. citizen — who was killed in a firefight at age 26. "It's a good organization. They just needed to change some of their laws."
The approval also meant the mothers could get on with their annual convention, which is taking place in a Dallas hotel. They breathed a huge sigh of relief as they left the conference room after a 90-minute session.
"I fought a good fight, and I won," said Georgianne Carter-Krell, head of the Florida chapter and a national board member who led the charge to change the rule. "I am very pleased for Gold Star Mothers. We have finally done what is right."
Kudos to Ms. Carter-Krell for getting this outrageous situation fixed. So the vote was unanimous. I wonder how much egg was the face of the twelve National board members? Their bigotry I've chronicled here before, but here is another Journal News article from yesterday that proves to me even more what was behind the initial rejection.
"I just took it for granted growing up that everybody was brought up that way," Jones said. "Now you go into any store and some people can't even speak English."
"But they can count their money," Wheeler chimed in.
Asked whether that meant they would vote to lift the ban on noncitizens, though, Wheeler smiled and said, "Don't put words in my mouth."
Don't have to Ms. Wheeler. You and the eleven other national board members did it fine on your own.