- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 9, 2004

Ann Sherman Wolcott fought back tears yesterday as she remembered how her son Rex celebrated Mother’s Day each year before he left to fight in the Vietnam War.

“Mother’s Day was always special to me,” said Mrs. Wolcott, national president of American Gold Star Mothers. “He would always go outside and pick flowers and bring them to me and make me cards. That was very special. I still bring out those cards sometimes and read them.”

Rex Marcel Sherman, 18, was killed in Vietnam on Nov. 19, 1969. He served with the Army’s 75th Infantry Regiment, which was attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

Yesterday, Mrs. Wolcott, of York, Pa., and 24 other mothers whose children served in Vietnam and other military conflicts received handmade cards and pink roses from schoolchildren at the fifth annual Mother’s Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Mall. The ceremony was sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

The mothers, all dressed in white, represented the American Gold Star Mothers Inc., a group that volunteers at veterans hospitals, and American War Mothers, a patriotic women’s organization. Both groups are federally chartered.

Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital presented each of the mothers with a rose and a card made by students at one of four elementary schools.

Each mother read aloud the card they were given.

“Dear Special Lady,” one card read. “Thank you for your dedication to our country. You should be very proud of your child for serving our nation. I am so thankful and I hope you have a beautiful Mother’s Day.”

The card was signed by Kate, a student at Stedwick Elementary School in Gaithersburg.

Rose Lee Mims, 79, of Northwest, was one of the mothers who attended the solemn ceremony. She said her son is in Iraq and is expected to return home soon.

“I just pray every day for him and trust God for his safety,” she said.

After the card ceremony, Girl Scouts representing nine troops from the District, Maryland and Virginia escorted the mothers to the memorial wall.

There, the mothers placed each card and rose at the base of the wall.

“It really meant a lot to be here,” said Alexis Kuiper, 16, a Girl Scout from Fairfax.

“I wanted to come and honor my mom, because my father is in the military and this is special,” she said as tears rolled down her face. “All the names on the wall make me want to cry.”

Mrs. Wolcott placed her card and rose at the base of the panel 16 West, where her son’s name is inscribed on line 96.

“Vietnam [War] mothers were treated the same as the soldiers,” she said.

“We are the forgotten ones.”

More than 58,000 names are listed on the memorial wall. About 1,200 of those are listed as missing. The National Park Service on Saturday began inscribing 10 new names. The Park Service also will change the status of 17 soldiers from missing to killed in action.

The new name inscriptions will become official on May 31 at the annual Memorial Day Observance at the Wall. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge will be the keynote speaker.

As Mrs. Wolcott addressed the crowed yesterday morning, she asked everyone to remember those who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“As you are there facing the wall, remember them,” she said.

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