Blue Star Service Banners are available

Blue Star Service Banners are available The Wakonda American Legion Auxiliary will be giving Blue Star Service Banners to Wakonda families who have family members currently serving in the armed forces. If you would like a banner to display, contact JoAnn Ganschow at 267-2882.

The Blue Star Service Banner was designed and patented in 1917 by World War I Army Capt. Robert L. Queissner of the 5th Ohio Infantry who had two sons serving on the front lines. It quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in the service.

On Sept. 24, 1917, an Ohio congressman read the following into the Congressional Record: " ? The mayor of Cleveland, the Chamber of Commerce and the governor of Ohio have adopted this service flag. The world should know of those who give so much for liberty. The dearest thing in all the world to a father and mother � their children."

During World War II, the Department of War issued specifications on the manufacture of the banner as well as guidelines indicating when, and by whom, the service flag could be flown or the service lapel button could be worn. The banner can be seen hanging in the front window of Mrs. Ryan's house in the movie Saving Private Ryan.

The Blue Star Service Banner is an 8 by 16 inch white field with a blue star(s) sewn onto a red banner.

Today, Blue Star Service Banners are displayed by families who have a loved one serving in the armed forces, including activated members of the National Guard and Reserves, whether the family member is a son, daughter, brother, sister, wife, husband, cousin, grandchild, etc. The banner displayed in the front window of a home, shows a family's pride in their loved one serving in the military, and reminds others that preserving America's freedom demands much.

The blue star represents one family member serving in the armed forces. A banner can have up to five stars, signifying that five members of that family are currently in military uniform on active duty. A gold star replaces the blue star if that relative is killed or dies in service. If more than one star appears on the flag, the gold star takes the place of honor nearest the staff.

Blue Star Mothers and Gold Star Mothers organizations were established during World War I and remain active today, although with a reduced membership.

Blue Star Service Banners, while widely used across America during World Wars I and II, were not embraced during Korean or Vietnam wars with nearly the same enthusiasm. But the American Legion is rekindling the tradition and spirit of pride in our military men and women following the horrific terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. the American Legion is providing banners to families in communities across the nation. Free color downloads of the banners are also available at The American Legion Internet Web site at www

.legion.org and poster and static cling versions for home and automobile, as well as lapel pins, are available from the American Legion National Emblem Sales, 1-888-453-4466.

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