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Ligaya, Lagman, Gold Star Mother

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July 4 - 10, 2005 | Volume 19 No. 27

FINALLY, A GOLDSTAR MOTHER
By Rita Villadiego


NEW YORK --- Two months ago, 57-year old Ligaya Lagman, a Filipino mother, whose application to join the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc was rejected, had been in pain and in tears, because she didn’t get the award intended to honormothers whose children died fighting in a war.

The award was denied because Lagman is not a U.S. citizen.

This week, Lagman spirit is high as the group reversed its decision and decided to grant her a Gold star award. She got a call from the group’s officer last Tuesday to inform her of their decision. She has yet to receive the formal letter of acceptance.” Masaya ako, kahit nasaktan ako, karapatan kong tanggapin ang award, ina rin akong nawalan ng anak. Iba ba ang buhay ko sa buhay nila? (I’m happy now, I was in pain before. It’s my right to accept the award, I’m a mother who also lost a son. Is my life different from their lives? ) said Lagman in a phone interview.

With the backing of many veterans group, specifically the Eastchester Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lagman’s request for the Gold star has been approved. Last Memorial Day, the Eastchester Veterans of Foreign Wars gave Mrs. Lagman a brilliant gold necklace to honor the sacrifice of her son. The veterans group, earlier, pushed to change the group’s by-laws so it can also award non-citizens.

The American Gold Star Mothers has been established since 1928 to honor mothers, who are U.S. citizens, who lost children fighting in a war.

The idea of the Gold Star was that the honor and glory accorded the person for his supreme sacrifice in offering for his country, the last full measure of devotion and pride of the family in this sacrifice, rather than the sense of personal loss which would be represented by the mourning symbols, the group web-site showed.

The group changed its ruling this week that non-U.S. citizen mothers could also get the Gold Star Award.

“I still miss my son. He used to call me regularly. It’s very painful to loss a son,” said Lagman, who immigrated to the U.S. 20 years ago and works as a seamstress in Yonkers.

Her son, staff sergeant Anthony Lagman, 26, was killed while fighting with insurgents in Afghanistan March 18 last year.

To honor him, one camp in Afghanistan was named as sergeant Anthony Lagman port.

“Myson was very quiet and very friendly. He used to bring his friends in our house during their free time,” said Joaquin Lagman, father of Anthony. The young soldier had been in the army for 10 years.

Mrs. Lagman said she’s also glad that the group has decided to honor non citizen families whose children served the country.

“There are so many parents who are immigrants whose children died fighting in the war, they also deserve an award,” said Joaquin.

“I’m happy that they finally accepted me, it is God’s will that I should also get the award,” Mrs. Lagman said.

Filipinos US Military Service in Iraq & Afghanistan