Early this a.m., I found a comment “buried” in my spam queue. I deem that a wrongful “death” because my obscure website would prove of little value to spammers, I’ve fact checked the comment and the emotional content tugs at the ol’ heartstrings.
Even though there’s mention of a Memorial Quilt, since there’s no link to a site to purchase it, I’m concluding there’s no financial gain angle involved.
Rather than burying this comment in a (now) nearly two-month-old posting, I’ve decided to feature Ms. Reneé A. Leon – Skiles as a guest blogger… provide her a forum for her heartfelt, patriotic, eloquently expressed sentiments… which now follow…
Memorial Quilt for the eternal Honor of all “Gold Star” Mothers: and all “Blue Star” Families. Quilt inspired by: Capt. Humayun Khan (fallen in Iraq, 2004) AND Charles Jackson Skiles, Jr., age 17 and Eugene Skiles, age 21, (both brothers fallen at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941)
It happened in an Olympic/Election year. Our Gold Star Mother, Ghazala Kahn and her husband, Khizr Khan honored their son in front of the world. That love awakened my similar past. Through her, it becomes undeniable that the loss experienced by Gold Star family members transcend race, time and political preference (except for the very ignorant). The wounds of a Gold Star Mother and her family affect future generations of family members, as does the freedoms gained from the bravery and heroism of their sons and daughters, which each of us remaining enjoy daily. The life of my father, Emmett Lee Skiles was significantly shaped by the loss of his two brothers by age 15, and the following generations.
Of significant importance in my family history and experience is the FACT THAT my Grandmother, from Richmond, Missouri, a Gold Star Mother, back in 1941 did not see her name in print; she was only identified as Mrs. Charles J. Skiles. CHRISTINA ZUKLIN SKILES (1889-1984), mother of sons and heroes Charles J. Skiles, Jr. and Eugene Skiles, also from Richmond, Missouri. Back in those early days, THIS COUNTRY did not acknowledge women as high enough on the social experience scale to refer to them by name. Women were silenced back then and existed only under the name of men in fear. I’m giving her that recognition now. I’m releasing her from standing in the shadows and giving her her name back: she is CHRISTINA ZUKLIN SKILES, my Grandmother. Advancing forward, in contrast, because of Christina’s son’s service, our beloved Gold Star Mother, Ghazala Kahn stood on a stage with her husband to be acknowledged and included for our entire world to see. That is what freedom represents and what the sacrifices accomplish. That is why their sons and daughters fought and died; for OUR FREEDOMS.
So I designed and personally made this flag quilt as an everlasting symbol to Honor these two and all Gold Star Mothers and their families, with my special thanks to Ghazala Kahn, forever a symbol for me to understand what my Grandmother, Christina Zuklin Skiles would have felt in those early, raw days after her losses and all her future days, long before my birth. Christina Zuklin Skiles would not have been able to speak one word if her two deceased hero sons were displayed behind her, in photos, on a large stage like Ghazala Kahn. Grandma Skiles would have cried inside in silence, with no words able to be spoken.
Reneé A. Leon – Skiles,
Daughter of Emmett Lee Skiles, US Army (younger brother of Charles J. Skiles, Jr. and Eugene Skiles)
My Addendum: If you fast-forward / freeze frame the above video at time index 2:41 and then look carefully (near the bottom of the middle column), you’ll spot the names of war heroes Charles J. Skiles, Jr. and Eugene Skiles.