Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gold Star Mother's Day

Last night I finished reading A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith. The novel is set in the 1930s and is a story about five Gold Star Mothers who travel to France to visit the graves of their WWI soldier sons. When I downloaded it to read on my Kindle, I vaguely recalled that Granny Westfall's mother, Anna Coughell Smith, was a Gold Star Mother.

After I finished the book, I jumped online and googled Gold Star Mothers to learn more about the history. Interestingly enough, the last Sunday in September was designated as "Gold Star Mother's Day" by a proclamation approved by Congress in June of 1936.

Shown here in a postcard pose with Niagara Falls in the background is Anna Coughell and her husband Eliud Smith. According to an inscription on the back of the original photo, this was taken in 1916 on a trip back to their native Niagara Falls, Canada for the funeral of Egerton Detler, Eliud's brother-in-law. Eliud and his family immigrated to the U.S. on 7 February 1911. In an interview I had with her a few years before her death, Eliud's daughter Mabel (Granny Westfall) recalled walking over the bridge when they moved. She was just under five years old.

In that interview, she also told me that her Smith grandparents "had a little house with a cemetery where my mother buried her first child." This child was George Wellington Smith born 18 September 1893 in Stamford, Welland County, Ontario, Canada and died 18 February 1894.

Eliud and Anna's next child was also a son, Edward Eliud Smith, who was born in Stamford on 18 December 1895. This picture postcard of him indicates that he died 9 August 1918 in France. Another family researcher had information that he was buried at Le Quesnel Communal Cemetery Extension in France.

So today, I honor the memory of those who served and died in service to their country and the loved ones left behind to mourn their loss.

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