I wanted to post a follow-up to a diary I submitted during Memorial Weekend. It was regarding the Gold Star Mothers and their decision to refuse membership to Ligaya Lagman who lost her son, Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman, in 2004 in Afghanistan.
The reason they denied her application for membership was because she was not a U.S. citizen. Their board refused to make an exception even though she has Permanent Residency status, causing public outcry.
Well, some good news has arrived. The organization has reversed course and changed their rules.
After hearing about her interest in joining, New York Gov. George Pataki and other lawmakers urged the group to change its rules.
“Quite simply, the loss a mother endures when her son or daughter makes the ultimate sacrifice for our nation — is no less honorable or admirable because of her citizenship status,” Pataki said Monday.
The change was approved unanimously Monday during the American Gold Star Mothers’ annual convention in the Dallas area.
“This change to our constitution was the right thing to do, but we had to make the change the right way,” said Judith Young, the group’s new president.
More than 140 military service members who were not U.S. citizens have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Legal residents who are not citizens have long served in the U.S. military.
Thanks to all of you who joined me in respectfully asking the Gold Star Mothers to reconsider. Now Mrs. Lagman and other foreign-born mothers who have to endure the loss of a child to Bush’s war will receive the support they deserve.