Simple War Widow Leaves A Memorable Legacy

Friday, November 15, 2019

Every day it seems we read the obituary of another unheralded senior citizen from one town or another across our land, that time has finally taken from us.  A grandpa, grandma, uncle, aunt, cousin or friend that bravely served our country in uniform, and even worked in our factories that supplied our troops with the means to fight. They will forever be remembered as one of those that we reverently honor as "The Greatest Generation." Some carried a rifle, flew a plane, served aboard a ship or submarine, drove a tank, tended our wounded and, yes, even served them a hot meal near "the front." What ever they did, whereever they served, they all contributed to the survival of civilization as we know it today. 

However we often forget those that remained behind and, as another tragedy of war, they have lived out their days as war widows of those that died in combat.  One simple, quiet young bride lost her husband just two short years after their marriage when he was killed in action near Alsdorf, Germany in 1944. She witnessed the grief and even the financial suffering that other "Greatest Generation" survivors struggled with and decided to rise up and form what became known as the Gold Star Wives Organization of America.

It was at a simple luncheon with just a few other war widows at her apartment in New York City in 1945, that Marie Jordan Speer formed this often ignored organization.  It has grown over the years to 35 chapters to a national organization that lobbies Congress to secure benefits for spouses and children of our fallen soldiers. Eleanor Roosevelt saw the value of their cause, and became an original signer of this original chapter. 

I have witnessed these sweet elderly ladies struggle every holiday season to secure goods and especially the much needed funds to buy food for Thanksgiving and Christmas for some of our most needy elderly and struggling families of those that gave their life for our country. Let us not forget the struggle and sacrifice of women like Marie Jordan Speer and these sweet ladies of The Gold Star Wives, and honor Marie's memory as they continue to care for these needy war widows and children. 

Please give generously and perhaps even volunteer to their local effort thru Gold Star Wives of America, Magnolia Chapter: Flora Lee Kernea, president. 633 Hickory Lane, Rossville, Ga. 30741.  You can call at 423-653-7359.

Bill Reesor
Ooltewah



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