Pilgrimage of Remembrance

** Read about author John Graham's May 2005 trip to the World War I Cemeteries. Complete with photo tour! **
Image of book cover

Pilgrimage of Remembrance

From 1930-1933, the U.S. Government organized and conducted a remarkable series of trips for mothers and widows of American soldiers killed in the First World War. The trips were called pilgrimages, and they took more than 6,500 women to the European cemeteries where their sons and husbands were buried. Today, the pilgrimages are largely forgotten, but they deserve to be remembered today.

Gold Star Mothers

The mothers were called Gold Star Mothers, a term which originated during World War I. Mothers, and other family members, wanted to find a symbol to show a son had been lost in war. The Gold Star, originally worn as an armband, was the answer.

The Gold Star Mother Pilgrimages of the 1930s

The Gold Star pilgrimages are full of fascinating stories, and my book from McFarland tells many of them. It tells the story of a decade-long fight in Congress for pilgrimage support. We learn about the intersection of famous lives (Teddy Roosevelt and Joyce Kilmer) with families forgotten in the past, such as Grace and Fred Ziegler of tiny Durand, Illinois. We learn of the segregation of black from white mothers and the freedom the black women discovered in Jazz Age Paris. And finally, one comes to appreciate the expenditure of public effort for the alleviation of private grief.

Order the book online now from McFarland & Company Publishers, or by mail with the order form.