A star by any other name…


Contributing Editor
Walt Pickut

With apologies to William Shakespeare for hijacking and changing his famous line from Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II,

“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other name would
smell as sweet;”

But names do help. It’s just good to remember what’s behind the name—the reality that’s so much more than the name.

Take a star for example, a real star like the Sun. It is a sphere of burning gas, millions of degrees at its core, uncountable billions of times bigger than Earth itself. And it doesn’t care what we call it—it will keep on doing what it is doing long after we’ve disappeared.

Then there’s the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a concrete galaxy of more than 2,690 stars embedded in 15 blocks of sidewalks on Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks on Vine Street in Hollywood, California.

Those stars are flesh and blood. So, with apologies once again to Shakespeare, not all stars are the same. And not everybody called a star is the same, either.

Some stars have an ego as big as the Sun and think everyone else should orbit around them like planets.

Other stars, however, know better. Consider award-winning film composer, record producer, singer, and songwriter, India’s A. R. Rahman, who once told a celebrity reporter, “I was a common man, and I will always remain a common man. No amount of stardom will ever consume my soul. Money comes, money goes. Fame comes, fame goes. I believe every human being is a celebrity in their own right.”

So, this week, the Jamestown Gazette celebrates Rahman’s kind of stars—Blue Stars—Blue Star Mothers, specifically, the Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie, New York Chapter 4. These are the mothers who “now have, or have had, children honorably serving in the military, a non-profit, Veterans service organization supporting their military children while promoting patriotism.”

This year their Memorial Day celebration, to be held at Jamestown’s Veterans memorial park, will honor the region’s Gold Star Mothers, those whose sons or daughters gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Though best known for his best-selling, five-book “trilogy,” Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, Douglas Adams once wrote in a more serious vein, “To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” Douglas’s words serve as a fitting description of both the Blue Star and Gold Star Mothers’ work.

The Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie describe their goal in support of one another while their children are deployed:

“To reach more moms and more of our sons and daughters who serve. Building awareness for our men and women from all of our neighborhoods still deployed and still fighting terrorism. We understand mothers who feel the stress of having their child in the path of extreme danger… We feel those feelings because we are also those moms.”

Please join the Jamestown Gazette in celebrating the mission, the joys and sacrifices, of these courageous military mothers.

And please, as always, enjoy the read in your Jamestown Gazette.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.