During WW I, a practice developed across the country. Families displayed flags with a blue star, a sign that a family member was fighting in the war. When a soldier died, the blue star was replaced by a gold one.

President Wilson approved a proposal by the Women’s Committee of National Defenses to wear a black armband with a gold star. It is believed Wilson coined the term “Gold Star Mother.” In 1928, 25 mothers met in Washington to establish an organization called American Gold Star Mothers, which still exists today.

This photo and the story of Gold Star Mothers are part of the current Slater Area Historical Association’s exhibit “The Great War – Slater and Story County in World War One.” The exhibit marks the 100th anniversary of what was called the Great War. On display are excerpts of letters, artifacts like dog tags, and uniforms from Slater area soldiers and their families. This extensive exhibit is on display now and into 2018 at Heritage Hall, 318 First Avenue, Slater.

Hours are 10-2 on Thursdays and 6-8 on Wednesday evening. Or call 515-480-9789 for an appointment. Admission is free to the public. Groups welcome.