Debb Hirsch Clay’s Poem Honors Gold Star Mothers

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

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1625-dr-eric-coley-receives-award-and-a-new-title"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,28,600,629/9359_Eric_Coley.rev.1612291212.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,28,600,629/9359_Eric_Coley.rev.1612291212.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,28,600,629/9359_Eric_Coley.rev.1612291212.jpg" alt="Dr. Eric Coley, E&H Class of 2004." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="600" data-max-h="601" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1625-dr-eric-coley-receives-award-and-a-new-title">Dr. Eric Coley Receives Award and a New Title</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Dr. Coley has received recognition for his hard work just before taking over as chair of the Physical Therapy program at the E&H School of Health Sciences. <a href="/live/news/1625-dr-eric-coley-receives-award-and-a-new-title" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1286-all-the-worlds-a-stage"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/325,11,1351,1034/8252_anna_nichols.rev.1590260295.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/325,11,1351,1034/8252_anna_nichols.rev.1590260295.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/325,11,1351,1034/8252_anna_nichols.rev.1590260295.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/325,11,1351,1034/8252_anna_nichols.rev.1590260295.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/325,11,1351,1034/8252_anna_nichols.rev.1590260295.jpg" alt="Anna Nichols, E&H Class of 2010" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/325,11,1351,1034/8252_anna_nichols.rev.1590260295.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1026" data-max-h="1023" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1286-all-the-worlds-a-stage">All the World’s A Stage</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Anna Nichols, theatre major, is playing the role of real life hero. <a href="/live/news/1286-all-the-worlds-a-stage" class="link-with-arrow gold">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"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/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 1x, /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"/> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/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 1x, /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"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/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 1x, /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"/> <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" 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" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/67-the-little-pony-in-the-cemetery">The Little Pony in the Cemetery</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p>A professor’s gift to his dying children shows the power of a promise.</p><a href="/live/news/67-the-little-pony-in-the-cemetery" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/780-jimmy-wilmouth-in-france"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,510,991,1501/6178_Jimmy_Wilmouth.rev.1554494489.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,510,991,1501/6178_Jimmy_Wilmouth.rev.1554494489.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,510,991,1501/6178_Jimmy_Wilmouth.rev.1554494489.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,510,991,1501/6178_Jimmy_Wilmouth.rev.1554494489.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,510,991,1501/6178_Jimmy_Wilmouth.rev.1554494489.jpg" alt="Jimmy Wilmouth with his girlfriend at the Eiffel Tower." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,510,991,1501/6178_Jimmy_Wilmouth.rev.1554494489.jpg 2x" data-max-w="991" data-max-h="991" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/780-jimmy-wilmouth-in-france">Jimmy Wilmouth in France</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> He ended up in France for love…but he’s also doing important cancer research <a href="/live/news/780-jimmy-wilmouth-in-france" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1147-2020-eamph-distinguished-alumni-awards-announced"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.jpg" alt="Founders Day" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/71/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/102,0,2233,2136/7839_Founders_Day_2019-52.rev.1583762496.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2131" data-max-h="2136" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1147-2020-eamph-distinguished-alumni-awards-announced">2020 E&H Distinguished Alumni Awards Announced</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> In lieu of Founders Day being canceled, we are working to find a way to celebrate and honor our award winners in other ways at later date. <a href="/live/news/1147-2020-eamph-distinguished-alumni-awards-announced" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>