Blue Star Banner

Dear Editor:The recent letter to the editor sent in by Ed and Patty Aparico entitled "Military Banners" (3/19/10) caused me to recall how our men in service were supported and remembered in another era. Some may remember the Blue Star window banners of World War II. For those who do not, I submit the following. It was an American tradition in the '40s to display a Blue Star Service Banner in the window of a home when a loved one was proudly serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII. As Americans supported troops deployed overseas, the Blue Star Service Banner would be a reminder that war touches every neighborhood. Each banner was adorned with one blue star for each family member serving. A gold star was displayed if, sadly, they weren't coming home. The Blue Star Service Banner was designed and patented in 1917 by WWI Army Capt. Robert L. Queisser of the 5th Ohio Infantry. Queisser's two sons served on the front line. His banner quickly became the unofficial symbol for parents with a child in active military 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." Blue Star Mothers and Gold Star Mothers organizations were established during WWI and remain active even to this day. Blue Star Service Banners were widely used during both world wars, but were not embraced during the Korean or Vietnam wars. The American Legion attempted to rekindle that spirit of pride in our military men and women following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by encouraging the use of the window banner but unfortunately their plan did not succeed. During my grandson's recent graduation from basic training, the officer in command spoke of how most folks give very little thought to the thousands of boys who are far from home, in places like Iraq. There are many families here in Downey who's sons and daughters, husbands and wives are bravely serving to protect our freedom. The display of the Blue Star Banner in all those windows would certainly raise awareness and remind us that war touches every neighborhood. There is a Blue Star Banner in our window. - Mike and Joyce Prokop, Downey

********** Published: March 26, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 49