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May 29, 2005



I agree with you. I got the banner for my sister when her son was killed. They also give it to grandparents. It has meant a lot to my sister, Mike was her only child. But it doesn't matter whether or not he was her only child, that brave young man gave up his life for our country. This is his family home now.

Maybe we veterans ought to consider pushing for him to be awarded his ciitizenship by letters, emails, etc. I saw a few minutes ago where another young man was awarded his posthumously.

The Gold Star Mothers are sanctioned by Congress. That is another venue.


Gold Star Mothers says the application was incomplete and documentation (ie death certificate, etc) was not included. They requested the missising info. The request was not denied, but is pending the proper paperwork. Let's not be hasty.


He's a citizen, his mother isn't.

if that is in fact what they said, they're retreating from what they said initially. No doubt due to the pressure they're under.

I sent them an email and told them that they should be ashamed of themselves.


Stupid indeed.


Ric James

Good idea, Major K. I've sent them an e-mail myself telling them they should make a change, here. After all, to not do so will eliminate all the good they may have done and all they will do in the future. They'll be remembered only for arrogantly refusing to admit a sister to their group.

A shame.


I remember reading an article about a Mexican Citizen who died serving in the US Armed services, (although not the main point of the artilce) it mentioned that he was posthumously presented with US Citizenship.

So I'm assuming that Soldier killed in combat, receive citizenship.

(Though in this case I understand that the son was already a citizen).


Amazing...but one shouldn't need the validity of being part of a certain group to still be proud of the child who served in the military, and in this case gave all. I don't know much @ all about GSM. Is there service or other assistance that would be extended to her that she could not otherwise receive elsewhere (financial, employement, etc?) if needed by the family? I hope this gets worked out for the best of all involved.

On another note...Maj K, have a blessed Memorial Day. Thank you for all you and your men do!!

Godspeed, blessings...
Jamie in CA, USA


Thanks for the link to respond to the GSM group... what a slap in the face to Ligaya Lagman as well as her son, who died in service to this country. They are just wrong on principle alone...

Joel (No Pundit Intended)

I think the GSM organization is wonderful, however, it seems they are a bit on the "high and mighty" side, if Ann Herd is an example of the group's culture.

While trying to get the word out about GI Bracelet (gi-bracelet.org), I sent Ann Herd an email asking for her help. Her response to me was "Does the DOD know you are doing this? You can't do anything that signifies a purple heart!" When I replied that the DOD did a write-up about it and that we were trying to honor those who had been awarded the Purple Heart while helping them and their families, there was no reply at all. She made sure to copy the rest of the board so everyone knew where she stood.

You're right. It is stupid and it strengthens my opinion of Ann Herd particularly, and I sorry to say of GSM by association. What a shame.

Anyway, that's my two cents on this.


Dear Gold Star Mothers,

Our family wants to send you a blessing on Memorial Day. Thank you for your sacrifice for our country and our freedom. We don't have words to express our gratitude.

We have read the story of Ligaya Lagman and are just as touched by her sacrifice for all of us. We hope that you can find it in your hearts to change your rules to allow her to be a member of your organization. Rules are funny things. Sometimes they are wrong.

Being a Gold Star Mother is a deeply held honor. Please honor her.

God bless you for your service to our Country,

Joe and Jade Sackett
Long Beach, CA


To the Board Members of American Gold Star Mothers,

I read this story (link) with dismay, and feel that this issue is one which requires more careful thought on your part.

When Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman was killed in Afghanistan, it was in the service of the United States. That his mother is not a U.S. citizen should not deny her the recognition that is afforded to other mothers whose sons and daughters have made the ultimate sacrifice in a U.S. uniform.

Ligaya Lagman's son fought and died for noble principles, and the tag line of your logo is "Perpetuating the Noble Principles for Which They Fought and Died". I hope that you will find the reading of your charter to be broad enough to include the mothers of fallen soldiers in U.S. uniform such as Mrs. Lagman. It was for her right to live here and be free, as well as for yours and mine, that he fought.

Barbara Way


Major K;

One more "round" downrange to the GSM, supporting a rule change for this mother. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.


My email to Ann Herd:

Dear Ms. Herd,

I've read about the decision to not bestow GSM status on Mrs. Ligaya Lagman, the mother of SSG Anthony Lagman. This decision is very wrong and I believe it flies in the face of what GSM is about. The point of GSM is to pay homage to the mothers of our fallen American warriors, is it not? Your decision is an affront to SSG Lagman (and every other fallen warrior) and what they died for. On your website it says "Perpetuating the noble principles for which they fought and died". Do you think your decision perpetuates the principles that SSG Lagman fought and died for? I think not.

What does it matter that Mrs. Lagman isn't an American citizen? Does she deserve any less, because of her sacrifice, than you do (just because you had the good fortune to be born here)? Your answer that "she's been here for 20 years and has had the opportunity to gain citizenship" is short-sighted, at best. You spit on the grave of her son, with an answer like that.

I'm ashamed at the GSM and I'm now ashamed that my mother flies a Blue Star flag on her window. You see, she's not a US citizen either, even though she's been in this country since the 50's. Does she not deserve to fly that flag either? In my eyes, she's more American than you are. You're telling me that if I were to die in combat (btw, I've been in the US Military for almost 22 years) you'd deny my mother the right to be a GSM and fly the Gold Star flag, because she wasn't born here?

Please, feel free to email me or call me and tell me in person, why you think my mother (or Mrs. Lagman) doesn't rate the honor that I (or he) has fought for. Call and tell me what principles you're perpetuating. What do you think YOUR son would say, if he were alive? Do you think he'd agree with you?

You (and the other board members) should be ashamed of yourself.


Some Soldier's Mom

Here's the text of the email we sent:

Our youngest son is serving in the US Army in Iraq. Our oldest son is serving in the US Navy. Our middle son is a Navy vet. Our nephew serves in the US Air Force stationed in Italy, soon to be deployed. Mrs. Lagman's son died honorably in the service of this country protecting this organization's right to associate and assemble. If his citizenship did not prevent his membership in a service organization, then her citizenship should not prevent her membership in yours.

CDR xxxxxxxx(USN, Ret.) and [some soldier's mom]

Brian Hart

Just to let you know that numerous Gold Star Mothers and fathers in Mass. are upset with this and discussed it at length this weekend. They will do something about it to right this wrong. We think the situation is outrageous and will not let it stand.

Unfortunately this has happened before involving adopted children killed in action, foreign born mothers, segregation etc.

The stupidity of a few has overshadowed the numerous good works these ladies do including such things as running homeless shelters for veterans and being enduring advocates for MIAs.

Speaking only for myself, I'll tell you that I was deeply hurt to see that Ann Herd failed to allow a Gold Star Mother presence at the Faces of the Fallen opening in March. We were there and would gladly have done it on behalf of about 1500 people there, but she would not allow it and stayed at her flat in Washington DC despite our request that she be present and put out the flag on behalf of this wonderful group.

America needs gold star mothers because it has forgotten how to deal with casualties and their families. The leadership at the very top of this organization has got to catch up with the times. The local groups however, particularly in Massachusetts have been outstanding. Their civic works and virtues on behalf of the fallen and the living wounded of our time are lasting and without blemish.

It is up to the other women of this organization to resolve this injustice and I believe they will do it. Stay tuned.


Apparently, Ann Herd is an Ass-hat!

Lisa Gilliam

Sounds as if GSM needs a house cleaning!


The last paragraph in the article said

"And on Monday, during Memorial Day observances at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2285 in Eastchester, Lagman will be presented with a gold necklace bearing a simple gold star."

So I am confused. Did she get the membership or not? Did someone else give her a necklace?


..Interesting..I caught this segment on CNN I believe..didn't think on it too much at the time..feeling public attention would over rule any issues..Citizenship..Reminded me of a young man in Viet Nam..From England..enlisted in the Marine Corps and volunteered for duty in Viet Nam so he could become a US citizen..didn't think much of it at the time either..but then one day..not a pariculary good day..in the aftermath of battle..I questioned his reasoning..or simply asked him why on God's Earth would you put yourself through this..Isn't there another way..Just seemed kind of funny to me..you can die and you are not even an American citizen..Why was I there..I didn't think much of it at the time except we..as US citizens had an obligation..but why this guy..did it mean that much..??..I guess it did and that was all there was to it..Far as I know..he made it..Maybe there are some rules that need to be taken another look at..Semper Fi..


There is another side to this story (in addition to it having been deliberatly provoked by an activist who sought out Mrs. Lagman and used her tragedy for his personal vendatta). One thing great about this country, for which much blood has been shed, is freedom. Freedom to associate or exclude, for right or wrong motives. Tasteless or courageous, they have the right to write their rules.

Of course, they also could change them...

J Grinlap

First, Ms. Lagman is a Gold Star Mother (not an American Gold Star Mother) by virtue of the fact that her son was killed in combat. That honor is conferred by the Secretary of Defense (usually through her casualty officer). She is also awarded the Gold Star Pin from the Secretary. Neither of these has anything to do with the organization American Gold Star Mothers.

Ms. Lagman may apply to this private organization if she wishes but, not being a citizen, can she agree with the purposes of the organization which are shown below:

Sec. 2403. Objects and purposes of corporation

The objects and purposes for which the corporation is organized shall be those provided in its articles of incorporation and shall include a continuing commitment, on a national basis, to -
(a) keep alive and develop the spirit that promoted world
(b) maintain the ties of fellowship born of that service, and
to assist and further all patriotic work;
(c) inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the
community, State, and Nation;
(d) assist veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean
Conflict, Vietnam, and other strategic areas and their dependents
in the presentation of claims to the Department of Veterans
Affairs, and to aid in any way in their power the men and women
who served and died or were wounded or incapacitated during
(e) perpetuate the memory of those whose lives were sacrificed
in our wars;
(f) maintain true allegiance to the United States of America;
(g) inculcate lessons of patriotism and love of country in the
communities in which we live;
(h) inspire respect for the Stars and Stripes in the youth of
(i) extend needful assistance to all Gold Star Mothers and,
when possible, to their descendants; and
(j) to promote peace and good will for the United States and
all other Nations.

Can Ms Lagman, for instance, comply with paragraph f) "maintain true allegiance to the United States of America"? She is a citizen of another country wouldn't this be a conflict?

While the citizenship requirement is contained in the AGSM constitution and bylaws(it has since been changed), the above "Objects and purposes" are from the federal charter which established the organization and can be changed only by Congress.

I know the American Gold Star Mothers say the pledge of allegiance at their events. Can Ms Lagman "pledge allegiance to the flag and TO THE REPUBLIC for which it stands"? As a citizen of another country, I think she would find this difficult.

The issue is not Ms Lagman, it's whether a private organization should be able to make its own rules. As some have noted, the VFW also has a citizenship requirement, Catholic War Veterans, http://www.cwv.org/eligible/eligible.htm, requires citizenship and, horrors, you must be catholic - no jews or protestants need apply. Would this be called anti-semitic? But then the Jewish War Veterans, http://www.jwv.org/membership/elegibility2.html, also require citizenship and you must be Jewish. I guess they don't want the anti-semitic Catholic War veterans as members.

See how silly it gets after a while? Accept the organization for what it is and join if you agree with its purposes. If not, start your own organization with your own criteria for membership.

I know one American Gold Star Mother well and have met quite a few more. They are all aware of this problem and most support changing the rule. It makes it tough though, when an outsider (Mr Spadero) tries to jam the change down your throat, especially when his own organization (the VFW) has the same rule. It's clear that Ms Lagman was only a pawn but Mr Spadero's motives escape me. After his campaign has effectively trashed the AGSM's reputation, why would Ms Lagman want to join and be a part of this supposedly disreputable group?

If you really want to know what it's like to be a Gold Star Mother read this - http://rstonesifer.com/kris/html_pages/art_mom_npr053104.htm


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