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Blue Star Service Banner identifies active military member

MADISON – American Legion members are rekindling an interest in the Blue Star Service Banner.

“It’s an American tradition to display a Blue Star Service Banner in the window of a home when a loved one is proudly serving in the U.S. Armed Forces,” Carlos Woods said. Woods is Commander of Madison American Legion, Post 229.

“As Americans support troops deployed overseas in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and other deployments, the Blue Star Service Banner is a reminder that war touches every neighborhood,” Woods said.

The Blue Star Service Banner measures 8.5 by 14 inches on a white field with one or more blue stars sewn onto a red banner.

American Legion also offers Blue Star Banner Corporate Flags for corporations and government organizations that want to show support for employees actively serving in the National Guard or Reserve.

In 1917, World War I Army Capt. Robert L. Queisser of the 5th Ohio Infantry designed and patented the Blue Star Service Banner. Queisser’s two sons served on the front line of battle. His banner quickly became the unofficial symbol for parents with a child in active military service.

Blue Star Mothers and Gold Star Mothers organizations were established during World War I and remain active today. During World War II, the Department of War issued manufacturing specifications for the flag, along with guidelines for whom can fly the flag and at what times.

“Today, families display these banners when they have a loved one serving in the U.S. Armed Forces,” Legionnaire Richard Blanton said. “The Blue Star represents one family member serving, and a banner can have up to five stars.”

“If the individual is killed or dies, a smaller golden star is placed over it. Gold stars are placed above the blue stars or to the top right of the flag, in the event a flag represents multiple service members,” Blanton said.

After widespread use in both world wars, Blue Star banners were not embraced during the Korean or Vietnam wars with the same enthusiasm. “American Legion rekindled that spirit of pride in our military men and women following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by providing banners to military families across the nation,” Blanton said.

For information about national sales of the banners, call 888-453-4466 or visit emblem.legion.org/Blue-Star/products/878/ or legion.org/troops/bluestar.

American Legion, Post 229 meets monthly on the second Thursday at 7 p.m. at Lunar Lodge 918 F&AM, 740 Eastview Drive, Madison. For more information, call 256-258-8534 or email Admin@AmericanLegionPost229.org.

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