Friends of Fort Vancouver Blog
Diane Green-Hartley: Pilgrimage of a Gold Star Mother
Author Diane Green-Hartley's 2010 book Lillie's Jasper: The 1930 Pilgrimage of a Gold Star Mother tells the story of the author's great grandmother, Lillie Green, who participated in the little known, Army-sponsored 1930-1933 pilgrimages of over 6,000 American "Gold Star Mothers" to their son's World War I grave sites in France and Belgium. Through family curated letters from Lillie Green's son Jasper, the book details his life as an Idaho shepherd who was drafted into the Army in 1917. Private Green underwent boot camp at Camp Lewis, Washington, and was deployed into combat in France. He succumbed to battlefield wounds in a hospital in France on August 22, 1918.
In the late 1920s, mothers of deceased World War I soldiers organized the federally recognized non-profit "Gold Star Mothers, Inc." Through their lobbying, in 1929, Congress authorized the War Department to pay for pilgrimages of Gold Star Mothers to visit their son's grave sites in Europe, starting in 1930. Lillie Green was one of the first of these mothers to make the pilgrimage. Green-Hartley's work pulls together the family letters of Private Green and Lillie Green's diary into a fascinating dialogue of one family's loss during and after World War I.
Diane Green-Hartley is passionate about preserving the memory of our World War I veterans. She is the great-granddaughter of Lilli Green. The Green family has roots going back to the original colonies of the United States: a Revolutionary War Patriot, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and in later years a Civil War veteran.
The history of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site interacts with the World War I era. The Vancouver Barracks was used to house soldiers who were preparing to ship out to the battlefields of Europe during World War I; it was also the site of the world's largest spruce saw mill. Over 30,000 soldiers helped to produce up to one million feet of straight-grained spruce a day for the construction of airplanes used in the conflict.
Photography of Green-Hartley with her books and photograph of presentation display at the Friends Shop by Madya Panfilio© 2016 used with permission.