Gold Stars

Back home, the service flags hanging in the windows of homes were changing. Blue stars were being replaced with gold ones, indicating that a loved one in the family had been killed in the war. No one wanted to see a soldier knocking on a door in the neighborhood, for fear of the news he would bring. Eleanor Kennedy – from Greensboro – was dating a soldier whose brother, Charles, was killed following a bombing mission over Austria. She says Charles’ mother never got over it. Towns like Pembroke, Cliffside and Burlington mourned the deaths of boys they knew so well. Don Bolden remembers attending a funeral at his church where a mother buried her only son. He says he will never forget the sad image of her holding a folded American flag.

“People don’t talk to you about the North African campaign, for example, but some of my finest classmates were killed in that very assault through the desert there with Rommel.”
- WILLIAM FRIDAY

Don Bolden was a child during the war years. He explains how the loss of a church member to the war impacted his church community. “We went to a little Methodist church down on the east side of Burlington and there was a young man who was a member there who was killed in action, and they brought his body back for a memorial service. And I remember his mother, she was a small lady, I can see her right now, but they gave her the flag when that service was over, and I can see her face as vividly now as I did then. The hurt, the tears in her eyes, the loss of her only son. And I can imagine what she was thinking, what he would not do. The life she would never have with him again. And that stuck with me forever, and it’s still with me.” - DON BOLDEN