Monday, September 5, 2011

Military Monday - WWI Gold Star Mothers

In 1929, the US Congress authorized pilgrimages to European cemeteries for mothers and widows of WWI soldiers who were buried there. Details about the pilgrimages are included in the Burial Case files for the soldier and can be obtained from NARA. (See the Burial Case File for Julius King Councill for details on the records included in a burial case file and how to order them.)

This article was published in the Lima News in Ohio on Sept. 7, 1930 and gives a few details on one of the pilgimages. My Gast family lived in Mercer County, Ohio.

          Golden Star Mother Home From France
   Coldwater, Sept. 6 - Mrs. Gast, of Chickasaw, Mercer county's only Gold Star mother to make the pilgrimage to France this year, is home with a treasure of memories of her eventful trip. She has nothing but praise for the way the government arranged for their every comfort and convenience.
   At the largest American cemetery in France near Romagne, she visited the grave of her son, Leo J. Gast, who as a private in the 16th infantry of the First Division was killed during the Meuse-Argonne offensive Oct. 9, 1918. Each mother or widow was furnished with a wreath of flowers to be placed on the grave. Guides, many of them furnished by Paris Post of the American Legion, conducted them to the various cemeteries and gave them much information about the battle sectors thru which they passed. The mothers showed great interest in the military maneuvers in which their sons played a part.

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