Gold Star Mothers of America make a bad call


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redbone
May 27, 2005, 08:58 PM
Mods: Please place this where it is most appropriate. Thanks.

This is wrong, wrong, wrong.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,157839,00.html

Mother of Slain Soldier Denied Gold Star Membership
Friday, May 27, 2005

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Everyone agrees that Ligaya Lagman (search) is a Gold Star mother, part of the long line of mournful women whose sons or daughters gave their lives for their country. Her 27-year-old son, Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman (search), was killed last year in Afghanistan, but American Gold Star Mothers Inc., has rejected Lagman, a Filipino, for membership because — though a permanent resident and a taxpayer — she is not a U.S. citizen.

"There's nothing we can do because that's what our organization says: You have to be an American citizen," national President Ann Herd said Thursday. "We can't go changing the rules every time the wind blows."

That explanation isn't satisfying the war veterans who sponsored Lagman's application, some other members of the mothers' group or several members of Congress.

"It is disheartening that any mother of a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who has died in the line of duty would be denied membership in an organization that honors the memory of fallen service men and women," said Rep. Nita Lowey (search), whose district includes Lagman's home in Yonkers.

Rep. Eliot Engel, who represents an adjoining district, said the group should change its rules immediately.

"Whatever the excuse, American Gold Star Mothers' decision smacks of xenophobia and is in stark contrast to what Mrs. Lagman's son fought and died for," Engel said.


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (search) said, "We now have many noncitizens serving honorably in our armed services, and I hope that this can be satisfactorily resolved."

A past president of the mothers' group, Dorothy Oxendine, of Farmingdale, said, "There's no discrimination in a national cemetery. There's no discrimination when they get killed side by side. So how can we discriminate against a mother?"

Another past president, Ann Wolcott, of York, Pa., said, "Times have changed since this organization was started, and there are a lot of men and women serving today whose parents are not citizens. I think they deserve every honor and privilege that we have as Gold Star mothers."

Oxendine and Wolcott said they believe that given the increasing diversity of the armed forces there have been noncitizens in the 1,200-member organization who overlooked or ignored the citizenship question on the application.

Lagman has lived in the United States for more than 20 years. She was not at home Thursday, apparently tending to her husband, who is hospitalized. But her other son, Chris Lagman, said in Thursday's The Journal News that all she wants "is recognition as the mother of this fallen soldier."

Lagman's application was initiated by Ben Spadaro (search), a veteran from Yonkers, who said he learned about the citizenship rules of the American Gold Star Mothers (search) while working on a national cemetery committee of the Veterans Administration. When he learned of Anthony Lagman's death and saw Lagman was a citizen but his mother was not, he thought, "He's buried in a military cemetery, with full honors. She should be able to join."

"We decided to tell the absolute truth on the application," he said. "We put down, `I am not an American citizen.' It was a ploy to get them to reject her, and then we said they should change the rules."

But the organization's 12-member executive board voted against any change.

"We can't go changing the rules every time we turn around," said Herd, the national president. "When we have problems within our organization with people not abiding by the rules, we just get it straightened out, we don't change the rules."

Oxendine, the former president, said she is sure the general membership would approve a rules change if the board did.

"I can't believe that 12 intelligent women would ever not have it in their hearts to think about another Gold Star mother," Oxendine said. "You pay a high price to join the American Gold Star Mothers. I figure her dues were paid."

Spadaro isn't giving up. He had his brother, a Florida lawyer, write to the Department of Justice, noting the mothers' organization has received federal assistance and demanding an investigation.

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.


Please, if this bothers you as it did me, visit the Gold Star Mothers webpage at

http://www.goldstarmothers.us/contact.php

and let them know. I suggested that they change the rules and consider a change in their leadership as well.

Thanks.

RBH

P.S. First time I ever agreed with Hillary...........

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magsnubby
May 27, 2005, 09:46 PM
E-mail sent.

50 Freak
May 27, 2005, 09:55 PM
My e-mail to them: :fire: :fire: :fire: :fire: :fire: :fire: :fire: :fire:

"I just read about your refusal to allow a mother of a dead soldier join your group because both he and her are not US citizens. As far as I'm concerned, his sacrifice while serving this great country in a time of war has earned him the right to be a citizen and the right of his mother to join your worthless group. I am so ashamed of your insensitivity I plan to write my congressman to see if he can do anything about preventing any sort of Federal funds from ever reaching your coffers.

Your sons would curse you if they knew what you are doing to a fellow soldier’s mother.

Shame on you!!!!!"

El Tejon
May 28, 2005, 08:49 AM
Oh, another awful immigrant attempting to suck benefits out of our beloved country!

How dare those immigrants come here and sacrifice their lives and attempt to get something for it! I'm so mad I could almost get off the couch.

CarlS
May 28, 2005, 10:10 AM
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (search) said, "We now have many noncitizens serving honorably in our armed services, and I hope that this can be satisfactorily resolved."

For Clinton's information, non-citizens have served in the US military beginning with the Revolutionary War. During the era of the draft, resident aliens were drafted. Serving in the military was a a shortcut to US citizenship during those days. Shows how much dear Hillary knows about military service.

EghtySx
May 28, 2005, 10:12 AM
Why doesn't she become a citizen?

redbone
May 28, 2005, 10:20 AM
When I started this thread last night, I was plenty mad. That "may" have come through in my email to GSMA. I'm still angry, but upon reflection, I think it would be prudent to make any mail you choose to send sound fairly respectful, but firmly stating your position.

Each of the officers of GSMA has also lost a son or daughter; we need to keep that in mind. Based on their website, many may have gone thru this during the Vietnam War, which makes them likely to be 70 to 85 yrs old now. We may be dealing with somewhat senile old women who are out of touch with reality.

Let's be gentle but firm. Might not hurt to email our congress critters as well.

Thanks.

Rick

ID_shooting
May 28, 2005, 11:03 AM
OK, but I have a question. Does this group recieve any federal funds or are they just some exlusive club? What benefit does she get if she is able to join?

My point is this, while I do not agree with thier policy, and I think they are wrong in this, if they are a private club with no fed money they are entitled to be as selctive as they wish.

If they are a federal funded organisation, they have no choice but to let her in and give her full status.

We may not like what groups say, believe or do, but if they are private, it is thier perogative to be as tight as they want to be.

71Commander
May 28, 2005, 12:44 PM
My email to "The club"

As a veteran, I am appaled at your treatment of Ligaya Lagman. Her son died protecting your rights and the rights of all Americans. I would be ashamed to be part of a club that had people like you as members.

Azrael256
May 28, 2005, 04:44 PM
Email sent. This is assinine.

ID, they do receive federal funds.

DMF
May 28, 2005, 07:39 PM
Why doesn't she become a citizen? Good point.

Now if everyone here is cool with pressuring private group into changing their membership rules, I guess you're OK with that in other situations too. So you all feel it's OK to pressure the BSA to accept homosexuals right?

71Commander
May 28, 2005, 07:42 PM
So you all feel it's OK to pressure the BSA to accept homosexuals right?


HUMMMM!!! An organization discriminating against an illegal activity.

Has no bearing to the case at hand.

jefnvk
May 28, 2005, 07:50 PM
From their site:

We are asking for your support through donations since we are not funded by any government agency

IMHO, that means they are free to choose who they want to let in. They say you must be an American citizen, I'm gonna respect that decision.

R.H. Lee
May 28, 2005, 07:55 PM
"We can't go changing the rules every time the wind blows."
Losing a son in combat equates to the wind blowing? What an ignorant statement.

JohnBT
May 28, 2005, 08:37 PM
"Why doesn't she become a citizen?"

Maybe she doesn't read English well enough to pass the test. With a 40% high school dropout rate in the U.S. there are probably more than a few citizens who couldn't pass it.

I say it's time to make her a citizen. Somebody organize a committee.

John

RevDisk
May 29, 2005, 01:43 AM
HUMMMM!!! An organization discriminating against an illegal activity.

In neither case are the organizations discriminating 'against an illegal activity'.


If the Gold Star mothers are a private organization that receive no govt funding nor tax exemption status, they are free to set whatever criteria they wish. Personally, I think it's rather rude to discriminate against a mom whose son died in the Service because she isn't American.

One of the best soldiers I knew wasn't American. He was from Africa. We asked him why he enlisted, and it's been the 'best' reason I've ever heard in my life. "So that I can learn how to kill the Communists that enslaved my country and keep my wife in a cage in a prison." (She protested something or other, I think lack of clean water for kids.) He was a very hard working soldier that did everything he was asked to do. He intended to serve his time, learn as much as possible, and then go back to his home country to kill some Commies. Nothing wrong with that.

We have a very long tradition of foreigners serving in our forces. Some wish to become citizens, some don't.

nico
May 29, 2005, 02:09 AM
So you all feel it's OK to pressure the BSA to accept homosexuals right?
If by "pressure" you mean picket or write nasty letters, absolutely. If you mean change the law to screw the group over, no.

I think the group's policy and leaders' statements are absurd.

Waitone
May 30, 2005, 10:31 AM
May they get all the adverse publicity they so richly deserve.

71Commander
May 31, 2005, 05:07 AM
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/05/30/national/a063444D67.DTL&sn=006&sc=781

Woman Drops Bid to Become Gold Star Mother

Monday, May 30, 2005

(05-30) 18:24 PDT Yonkers, N.Y. (AP) --

A Yonkers woman has dropped her bid to become a Gold Star Mother. Ligaya Lagman was denied acceptance by the organization of mothers who have lost sons and daughter in combat because she is not a U.S. citizen.

Bob Foster of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Eastchester tells the Journal News that Lagman is shaken up by all the attention she has gotten and she wants to stay on the sidelines. But she wants to see the rules changed so other mothers are not turned down like she was.

Lagman came to the United States from the Philippines in 1983. She is a permanent resident but not a citizen. Foster says she is busy caring for her husband, who is seriously ill. Lagman's son, Anthony, was killed in a firefight in Afghanistan last year at age 26.

Veterans and politicians, among others, called for American Gold Star Mothers to change its policy to allow noncitizen mothers of fallen soldiers into the organization, after reports that Lagman had been excluded from the group.

The Gold Star's national monument is being built in Putnam County.

71Commander
May 31, 2005, 05:16 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050527/ap_on_re_us/gold_star_mother

New Leader Says Gold Star May Change Rules



By JIM FITZGERALD, Associated Press Writer Fri May 27, 7:17 PM ET

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - A rule preventing non-citizens from joining the American Gold Star Mothers Inc. after they lose a son or daughter in the U.S. armed forces could eventually be changed, the incoming president said Friday after the group received complaints over an immigrant woman who was shut out.
ADVERTISEMENT

"The charter was written 77 years ago and we're in the next generation, I realize that," said Judith Young of Moorestown, N.J., who becomes president next month. "Things have changed, times have changed, people have changed."

The Washington-based organization of about 1,200 mothers came under criticism after Ligaya Lagman, a Filipino whose son was killed last year in
Afghanistan, was barred from joining because she is not an American citizen. She is a legal resident and has lived in the U.S. more than 20 years.

Some politicians have called for the group to change its rules immediately.

Gov. George Pataki wrote to current president Ann Herd on Friday, saying the group should "review its policies on membership in the interest of fairness and in recognition of the fact that service in defense of American freedom should be the paramount factor in determining eligibility."

Young said the group's office has been overwhelmed with critical messages, some of them vulgar.

But Young said the change must be proposed in an amendment from a mother or chapter, then be voted on by all members. "It's not something you just Wite-Out or change overnight," she said.

Lagman's application was initiated by Ben Spadaro, a veteran from Yonkers, who said he learned about the group's citizenship rules while working on a national cemetery committee of the Veterans Administration. He said Lagman's mother should be able to join the group because her son was a citizen and has been buried with full honors.

"We decided to tell the absolute truth on the application," he said. "We put down, `I am not an American citizen.' It was a ploy to get them to reject her, and then we said they should change the rules."

But the organization's 12-member executive board voted against any change.

"There's nothing we can do because that's what our organization says: You have to be an American citizen," Herd said Thursday. "We can't go changing the rules every time the wind blows."

Young said that the national board did not specifically vote on Lagman's application, but rather, "We only voted not to make an exception to the rule we already have as to citizenship."

___


*

joab
May 31, 2005, 06:44 AM
HUMMMM!!! An organization discriminating against an illegal activity. homosexuality isn't illegal anymore. I think they even let them vote nowWhy doesn't she become a citizen? Why, wasn't giving her son enough

jefnvk
May 31, 2005, 11:31 AM
Some politicians have called for the group to change its rules immediately.

Gov. George Pataki wrote to current president Ann Herd on Friday, saying the group should "review its policies on membership in the interest of fairness and in recognition of the fact that service in defense of American freedom should be the paramount factor in determining eligibility."

So politicians are now in the business of telling private organizations how to run their affairs?

Sean Smith
May 31, 2005, 11:36 AM
There is a difference between a politician asking that a group do something, and that politician using his power to FORCE them to do something. The governor (who I have no particular esteem for) writing a letter to somebody doesn't strike me as problematic, as long as he doesn't threaten them with some kind of "official" action.

Likewise, private citizens can ASK a private organization to change what it does all they want. FORCING them to change, however, is a whole other matter.

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