Debb Hirsch Clay’s Poem Honors Gold Star Mothers

Posted by Monica Hoel
Debb says it’s a poem for people who find themselves with a designation that no mother wants.

Debb Hirsch Clay (’70) is a member of the American Legion Unit 291, and her work on behalf of the Legion is a result of watching her father’s work as a medic in World War II. After she retired, she decided to honor his service by volunteering for the American Legion.

Her volunteer work for the American Legion Auxiliary sees her attending troop deployments, helping with family days for troops before they leave, and supporting Camp Pendleton children and spouses. She also is a member of the Elks Club and part of her service there is preparing meals for the Fisher House of Long Beach (part of the V.A. health care system). She also has been crocheting sleeping mats for homeless veterans using discarded plastic grocery bags. “We have distributed hundreds of mats. We hope that there will someday be no need for them.”

Part of Debb’s service to the American Legion community was a creative endeavor. She wrote a poem honoring Gold Star Mothers entitled My Gold Star. Gold Star Mothers are the women who have lost a child in service to our country. As Debb says, “It is a club no mother wants to join.”  

Her poem was written to “honor Gold Star Mothers and express my concern for their loss.” She was particularly honored when it got the attention of others in the military and government community. “I was recently invited to an event where I met Brigadier General Nathaniel Reddicks-Air Force, Dave Perry-US Navy, and National Veterans Services Chairman and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Congressman Rohrabacher asked if he could read My Gold Star into the Congressional Record. I agreed. My goal is for all Americans to know what a Gold Star Mother is and to honor their sacrifice; these women are truly amazing.”

Debb’s poem is printed below.

After leaving Emory & Henry back in 1970, Debb went to California where she completed 3 mentorships, was an National Science Foundation grant leader in the 1990s for their Mathematics Renaissance Project, and received 2 Golden Bell Awards from the state for innovative programs.

Debb says one of her favorite quotes is by Albert Schweitzer: “The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” Debb concludes by adding, “I am truly happy.”

 

My Gold Star

 

I took the road ”less traveled” and arrived upon a shore

Where sunlight danced on surface currents-opening a door

To memories of you and me –our feet upon the sand

And how our voices filled the air as your touch filled my hand.

 

You were just a little child but even then you knew

That giving of yourself was all that you were meant to do,

And day by day you walked the path that led you toward the day

You’d place your country and its worth ahead of “Self” and say,

 

“I’ll go and serve and do my part to keep my homeland free,

When others tread a different path it matters not to me,

For this I know and will profess to all who choose to hear,

Our country needs us all to serve and that is why I’m here.”

 

I stand alone now on that shore, as sorrow fills my brow

A mix of tears and smiles collide with thoughts of then and now,

Yet as I witness warmth and sparkle from the water’s skin,

The silent streams upon my face with brilliant light begin

 

To fill my heart, the air, this place with who you really are

And what you did and why you had to venture out so far,

So now I’m left without you here- my grief I try to hide

But what I can show is my “star” – it shines as does my pride.

By debb clay- Post 291

  • Debb Hirsch Clay's poem about Gold Star Mothers has gotten a lot of attention.
    Debb Hirsch Clay's poem about Gold Star Mothers has gotten a lot of attention.

Save & Share:

More News

  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/56-rhythm-roots-had-a-little-lamb" title="Rhythm & Roots Had A Little Lamb" aria-label="Rhythm & Roots Had A Little Lamb"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/568_brent.rev.1505410086.jpg" alt="Brent Treash is serving as the 2017 Rhythm & Roots President" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/568_brent.rev.1505410086.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1000" data-max-h="666"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/56-rhythm-roots-had-a-little-lamb" title="Rhythm & Roots Had A Little Lamb" aria-label="Rhythm & Roots Had A Little Lamb">Rhythm & Roots Had A Little Lamb</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">…and his name was Brent Treash, E&H Class of ’01. He served as president of the 2017 Rhythm & Roots Festival. <a href="/live/news/56-rhythm-roots-had-a-little-lamb" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Rhythm & Roots Had A Little Lamb" aria-label="Rhythm & Roots Had A Little Lamb">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/162-eamphs-hidden-role-in-hidden-figures" title="E&H’s Hidden Role in “Hidden Figures”" aria-label="E&H’s Hidden Role in “Hidden Figures”"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,95,232,327/855_Hidden.rev.1507735803.jpg" alt="The cover of Margot Lee Shetterly's book, Hidden Figures." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="232" data-max-h="346"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/162-eamphs-hidden-role-in-hidden-figures" title="E&H’s Hidden Role in “Hidden Figures”" aria-label="E&H’s Hidden Role in “Hidden Figures”">E&H’s Hidden Role in “Hidden Figures”</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">The book, “Hidden Figures,” has been made into a movie and everyone is loving the story. But you might not know about a couple of E&H figures who are in the story. <a href="/live/news/162-eamphs-hidden-role-in-hidden-figures" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="E&H’s Hidden Role in “Hidden Figures”" aria-label="E&H’s Hidden Role in “Hidden Figures”">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/156-eamph-alumnus-gary-reedy-named-ceo-of-american" title="E&H Alumnus Gary Reedy Is CEO of American Cancer Society" aria-label="E&H Alumnus Gary Reedy Is CEO of American Cancer Society"><img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/851_alumni-gary-reedy.rev.1507730801.jpg" alt="Reedy, class of 78, speaks on campus." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/851_alumni-gary-reedy.rev.1507730801.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1000" data-max-h="666"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/156-eamph-alumnus-gary-reedy-named-ceo-of-american" title="E&H Alumnus Gary Reedy Is CEO of American Cancer Society" aria-label="E&H Alumnus Gary Reedy Is CEO of American Cancer Society">E&H Alumnus Gary Reedy Is CEO of American Cancer Society</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Gary M. Reedy serves as the chief executive officer of the <a title="American Cancer Society Homepage" href="http://www.cancer.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">American Cancer Society</a>, placing the 1978 Emory & Henry graduate atop one of the most influential non-profit organizations in the nation. <a href="/live/news/156-eamph-alumnus-gary-reedy-named-ceo-of-american" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="E&H Alumnus Gary Reedy Is CEO of American Cancer Society" aria-label="E&H Alumnus Gary Reedy Is CEO of American Cancer Society">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/53-the-other-side-of-the-striped-shirt" title="The Other Side of the Striped Shirt" aria-label="The Other Side of the Striped Shirt"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,499,543/565_bronie.rev.1505403379.jpg" alt="Bronie Reynolds (E&H '84) poses with Mike Young (E&H '86)" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="499" data-max-h="543"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/53-the-other-side-of-the-striped-shirt" title="The Other Side of the Striped Shirt" aria-label="The Other Side of the Striped Shirt">The Other Side of the Striped Shirt</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Bronie Reynolds (’84) is one of the people who get to pick the country’s best referees. <a href="/live/news/53-the-other-side-of-the-striped-shirt" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="The Other Side of the Striped Shirt" aria-label="The Other Side of the Striped Shirt">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/187-josh-myers-is-at-the-helm" title="Josh Myers Is at the Helm" aria-label="Josh Myers Is at the Helm"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,427,427/1596_Josh_Myers.rev.1513028145.jpg" alt="Josh Myers and wife, Katie." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="427" data-max-h="427"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/187-josh-myers-is-at-the-helm" title="Josh Myers Is at the Helm" aria-label="Josh Myers Is at the Helm">Josh Myers Is at the Helm</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Josh Myers (’08) is president of EMM Financial Services. <a href="/live/news/187-josh-myers-is-at-the-helm" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Josh Myers Is at the Helm" aria-label="Josh Myers Is at the Helm">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/50-72-grad-is-champion-horse-trainer" title="’72 Grad is Champion Horse Trainer" aria-label="’72 Grad is Champion Horse Trainer"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,877/563_Joe_Shortt.rev.1505400886.jpg" alt="Joe Shortt at the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia's Hall of Fame" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,877/563_Joe_Shortt.rev.1505400886.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,877/563_Joe_Shortt.rev.1505400886.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1200" data-max-h="877"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/50-72-grad-is-champion-horse-trainer" title="’72 Grad is Champion Horse Trainer" aria-label="’72 Grad is Champion Horse Trainer">’72 Grad is Champion Horse Trainer</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Joe Shortt, E&H Class of ’72, was recently inducted into the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia’s Hall of Fame. <a href="/live/news/50-72-grad-is-champion-horse-trainer" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="’72 Grad is Champion Horse Trainer" aria-label="’72 Grad is Champion Horse Trainer">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/75-kurtz-appointed-to-atlanta-area-agency-on-aging" title="Kurtz Appointed to Atlanta Area Agency on Aging" aria-label="Kurtz Appointed to Atlanta Area Agency on Aging"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,232,216/741_kurtz.rev.1507059839.jpg" alt="Becky Kurtz E&H '84" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="232" data-max-h="216"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/75-kurtz-appointed-to-atlanta-area-agency-on-aging" title="Kurtz Appointed to Atlanta Area Agency on Aging" aria-label="Kurtz Appointed to Atlanta Area Agency on Aging">Kurtz Appointed to Atlanta Area Agency on Aging</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Becky Kurtz is heading back to Atlanta after serving as a chief U.S. administrator. <a href="/live/news/75-kurtz-appointed-to-atlanta-area-agency-on-aging" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Kurtz Appointed to Atlanta Area Agency on Aging" aria-label="Kurtz Appointed to Atlanta Area Agency on Aging">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/68-that-one-timewhen-being-flip-was-a-good-thing" title="That one time...when being flip was a good thing!" aria-label="That one time...when being flip was a good thing!"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,750/731_toni.rev.1506976173.jpg" alt="Cameron Chase and Toni Atkins on the floor of the California Assembly." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,750/731_toni.rev.1506976173.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1000" data-max-h="750"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/68-that-one-timewhen-being-flip-was-a-good-thing" title="That one time...when being flip was a good thing!" aria-label="That one time...when being flip was a good thing!">That one time...when being flip was a good thing!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Toni Atkins (’84) gave an E&H student a professional opportunity of a lifetime. <a href="/live/news/68-that-one-timewhen-being-flip-was-a-good-thing" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="That one time...when being flip was a good thing!" aria-label="That one time...when being flip was a good thing!">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/406-kim-cressell-has-the-greatest-shop-on-earth" title="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth" aria-label="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/560,0,2016,1455/4145_IMG_0071.rev.1525982477.jpg" alt="Kim Cressell (E&H '93) at The Reserve in Sarasota, Florida." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/560,0,2016,1455/4145_IMG_0071.rev.1525982477.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/560,0,2016,1455/4145_IMG_0071.rev.1525982477.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2016" data-max-h="1512"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/406-kim-cressell-has-the-greatest-shop-on-earth" title="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth" aria-label="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth">Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">It’s a shop that is far more exciting than retail; but what ARE those red buildings? <a href="/live/news/406-kim-cressell-has-the-greatest-shop-on-earth" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth" aria-label="Kim Cressell has the Greatest Shop on Earth">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/191-marsha-wagoner-kayaking-into-the-sunset" title="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??" aria-label="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/1727_IMG-4387.rev.1513886589.JPG" alt="Marsha Wagoner at Farmer's Hardware in Sparta, NC." class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/1727_IMG-4387.rev.1513886589.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/1727_IMG-4387.rev.1513886589.JPG 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2400"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/191-marsha-wagoner-kayaking-into-the-sunset" title="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??" aria-label="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??">Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">After 80 years in business, Farmer’s Hardware in Sparta is saying goodnight. <a href="/live/news/191-marsha-wagoner-kayaking-into-the-sunset" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??" aria-label="Marsha Wagoner: Kayaking into the sunset??">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/520-super-heroes-and-princesses" title="Super heroes and princesses?" aria-label="Super heroes and princesses?"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,12,214,226/4535_41368297_705985249770551_4194188508329410560_n.rev.1536365207.jpg" alt="Cathy Bottrell, E&H '82" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="214" data-max-h="320"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/520-super-heroes-and-princesses" title="Super heroes and princesses?" aria-label="Super heroes and princesses?">Super heroes and princesses?</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">It’s all in a day’s work for Cathy Bottrell (E&H ’82). <a href="/live/news/520-super-heroes-and-princesses" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Super heroes and princesses?" aria-label="Super heroes and princesses?">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/546-first-ever-online-tailgate" title="First Ever Online Tailgate" aria-label="First Ever Online Tailgate"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/588,0,2988,2400/4734_IMG-0674_2.rev.1538488532.JPG" alt="Prizes were ready for the first ever online tailgate!" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/588,0,2988,2400/4734_IMG-0674_2.rev.1538488532.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/588,0,2988,2400/4734_IMG-0674_2.rev.1538488532.JPG 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2400"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/546-first-ever-online-tailgate" title="First Ever Online Tailgate" aria-label="First Ever Online Tailgate">First Ever Online Tailgate</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Believe it or not...it worked! <a href="/live/news/546-first-ever-online-tailgate" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="First Ever Online Tailgate" aria-label="First Ever Online Tailgate">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/377-give-us-emory-henry-in-the-city" title="Give Us Emory & Henry In the City!" aria-label="Give Us Emory & Henry In the City!"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,960,960/3728_EHCITY_SACREMENTO.rev.1522090608.jpg" alt="Senator Toni Atkins ('84) and Pam Kestner ('83) stole the show with their Patrick Henry Poses!" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,960,960/3728_EHCITY_SACREMENTO.rev.1522090608.jpg 2x" data-max-w="960" data-max-h="960"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/377-give-us-emory-henry-in-the-city" title="Give Us Emory & Henry In the City!" aria-label="Give Us Emory & Henry In the City!">Give Us Emory & Henry In the City!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">“E&H in the City” has become part of the E&H lexicon! <a href="/live/news/377-give-us-emory-henry-in-the-city" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="Give Us Emory & Henry In the City!" aria-label="Give Us Emory & Henry In the City!">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/296-a-st-judes-hero" title="A St. Jude’s Hero" aria-label="A St. Jude’s Hero"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,764,812/3319_20180125_123141.rev.1519077228.jpg" alt="Emily Tolley Boyles" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,764,812/3319_20180125_123141.rev.1519077228.jpg 2x" data-max-w="764" data-max-h="1018"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/296-a-st-judes-hero" title="A St. Jude’s Hero" aria-label="A St. Jude’s Hero">A St. Jude’s Hero</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">Emily Tolley Boyles said she’d NEVER run a full marathon. But that was before she met Mighty Max. <a href="/live/news/296-a-st-judes-hero" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="A St. Jude’s Hero" aria-label="A St. Jude’s Hero">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/67-the-little-pony-in-the-cemetery" title="The Little Pony in the Cemetery" aria-label="The Little Pony in the Cemetery"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2400,3200/728_19E35B9F-0C53-4243-A5C9-7BFA8720C009.rev.1506974918.JPG" alt="The little concrete pony found in the Emory Cemetery" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2400,3200/728_19E35B9F-0C53-4243-A5C9-7BFA8720C009.rev.1506974918.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2400,3200/728_19E35B9F-0C53-4243-A5C9-7BFA8720C009.rev.1506974918.JPG 3x" data-max-w="2400" data-max-h="3200"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/67-the-little-pony-in-the-cemetery" title="The Little Pony in the Cemetery" aria-label="The Little Pony in the Cemetery">The Little Pony in the Cemetery</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary">A professor’s gift to his dying children shows the power of a promise. <a href="/live/news/67-the-little-pony-in-the-cemetery" class="link-with-arrow gold" title="The Little Pony in the Cemetery" aria-label="The Little Pony in the Cemetery">Keep reading</a></div></div>