On the home front of a nation at war, one of the toughest jobs in the military is delivering the worst of news.
"Three Army officers, and I knew the only reason they would be there was to tell me that Casey was dead," says Cindy Sheehan.
"And when I walked in and saw the soldiers standing there I just started saying, 'No, no, no, no,'" says Lynda Unger.
Losing a child in combat, Lynda Unger and Cindy Sheehan are now Gold Star Mothers, but they are divided by the same thing that brings them together: the war that took their sons' lives.
"Iraq was never going to attack us," says Sheehan.
"If we just sit back and don't do anything, they're going to overrun us," says Unger.
As CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports, Unger's son Daniel, 19, was killed by shrapnel in Iraq. But it was his own small hometown, Exeter, Calif., that his mother believes he was defending.
"If we'd waited any longer, I would be wearing a burka," says Unger.
In Vacaville, Calif., Cindy Sheehan mourns her son Casey, who was 24 when he was killed in an ambush in Sadr City.
"He didn't agree with the war," says Sheehan. "He didn't think that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States, but he wanted to go because he said that if he didn't, his buddies needed him," says Sheehan.
Casey's death moved his mother to become politically active, speaking out against the war in public forums.
"Not only the Sheehan family, but the whole country and world has been betrayed by this war and the lies and the rush to a war that should never have happened," says Sheehan.
"I still don't know who's connected to who and all this stuff," says Unger. "I don't care. I really don't care.
"We were attacked, we need to defend. If going to Iraq is the way to do it, we got Saddam Hussein."
Unger's support for the war is bolstered by her strong fundamentalist Christian faith and an unshakeable trust in the Bible.
"I don't believe God makes mistakes," says Unger.
She has told the story of Daniel's death in church pamphlets as an example of Christian sacrifice and as a call to others to be born again.
"The fact that he died doesn't mean he stops being great," says Unger.
Sheehan has been showing others the human cost of war through a mother's grief.
"This is his teddy bear. He ate all the fuzz off of it when he was a baby but he wouldn't go to bed without it," Sheehan tells an audience at a town meeting.
The gold star designates those who have given something more precious than their own lives - they have given the lives of their children.