On Sunday, April 5, 2020 Gold Star Spouses across the United states will be acknowledged but few people know the grassroots origins of the organization that propelled this special day into existence.  It was a muggy July evening in 1945 when five young women, whose husbands had died in World War II, traveled to Hyde Park, New York, to meet with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Mrs. Roosevelt later wrote in her news column, My Day,  “…they came for supper, and then went to Poughkeepsie the Lafayette Post of the American Legion had given them permission to use a room… It was a small meeting, though the casualties among servicemen from Dutchess County were pretty high.” These five widows had first met together in Marie Jordan’s apartment in New York City to talk about how they might band together to support the needs of all war widows and their children. After Marie’s husband, Edward Jordan, had died in combat in 1944 in Alsdorf, Germany, she scanned newspapers for the death notices of other fallen soldiers and the names of their widows. She called a few who lived close by and invited them to lunch at her apartment where she lived with her small son. Losing a spouse in combat meant also losing medical care, commissary privileges and even a place to live if they lived in military housing. Many widows had married young and had no job training. They had little or no resources from the U.S. government and often relied on the charity of family and friends. Out of desperation, Marie and four other widows formed a support group called the American Widows […]