The National Remember Our Troops Campaign is a 501(c)(3) military and veterans charity dedicated to remembering the service and sacrifice of all military servicemembers, all veterans and their families, supporting those in need and letting them know they are not forgotten.
THE BLUE STAR SERVICE BANNER
- While not widely known, a Blue Star Service Banner displayed in the window of a home is a long standing tradition in America dating back to World War I.
- Department of Defense regulations only permit displaying this banner during a period of war or hostilities.
- The Service Banner is 8 by 16 inches in size.
- It lets others know that someone in the home is serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- A Service Banner can contain up to five stars.
- Each blue star represents one family member serving as an active duty service member.
- If the individual symbolized is killed or dies while serving, for reasons other than dishonorable, the star representing that individual will have superimposed on it a gold star of smaller size so that the blue forms a border.
- On banners displaying multiple stars, including gold stars, the gold star(s) will be above the blue star(s) in a place of honor nearest the staff.
- Being killed in action, KIA, is not a requirement for a gold star. It is only required that the service member died while on active duty.
- There is no requirement that a service member is or was stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere overseas to qualify.
THE BLUE STAR SERVICE BANNER
The idea of a Blue Star Service Banner was inspired by Robert L. Queissner, a Spanish-American War Veteran and World War I Army Captain of the 5th Ohio Infantry, who created a banner to honor his two sons, who were serving on the front lines in World War I. The Service Banner quickly gained popularity with others.
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.”
The Gold Star Service Banner also traces its roots back to World War I. The idea of a Gold Star developed from The Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense suggestion, which was approved by President Woodrow Wilson, that mothers who lost a child in the war should wear a black mourning band, with a Gold Star, on their left arm.
After having served as President of the United States from 1901 to 1909, Theodore Roosevelt and his family displayed a Gold Star Service Banner in honor of their youngest son, twenty year old Quentin, who on July 14th, 1918, while serving as a fighter pilot, was shot down and killed behind enemy lines over France.
Quentin Roosevelt in his Nieuport 28 Fighter Plane in France
During WWI and WWII most banners were hand made and sewn by mothers across the nation. One of the most famous Gold Star Service Banners was that of the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa, who all perished on the U.S.S. Juneau which was torpedoed while operating in the vicinity of Guadalcanal in November of 1942, taking her captain and 550 crewmen down with her.
The Secretary of War approved the official Service Banner design in February 1943. Congress authorized the Service Banner on October 17, 1943.
A World War II Poster
Above is a Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker. Did you know there are over seventy thousand miles of highway across our nation that are officially designated as, click here: Blue Star Memorial Highways?
These 6 inch in diameter cast bronze grave markers go back to WWI, top left, and can be found in almost every cemetery throughout the United States. We are confident that the stars on these markers are representative of the gold star.
The Service Banner was not popular during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. During Desert Storm some U.S. ships sent Service Banners to the families of everyone aboard. Because Desert Storm was of such short duration, the Service Banner never really had the time to catch on.
THE SERVICE BANNER TODAY
Today a new battle has been joined and the Blue Star Service Banner is experiencing resurgence. As recently as April 11th 2003, U.S. Senate Resolution 36, the House concurring, called on all Americans to honor the men and woman of the United States Armed Forces and their families; and encouraged military families to proudly display the Service Banner. Congress also called on the media to recognize the importance and symbolism of the Blue and Gold Star Service Banners.
The Service Banner is a symbol of both hope and of grave concern. It symbolizes a pride in the commitment of America’s armed forces personnel. By displaying the Blue Star Banner in the window, Americans can show their support and pride in the men and women who are serving in the United States Military. When we drive past homes that have the Blue Star Service Banner hanging in their windows, our hearts and minds are immediately directed towards our men and women in uniform who are at this very moment fighting for the freedoms of so many. We encourage every family who has waved goodbye to a loved one as he or she was deployed, to display a Blue Star Service Banner in their window.
Furthermore, one who displays the “Gold Star Service Banner” is “honoring”, the memory of a loved one who made the ultimate sacrifice. As we sadly mourn the loss of those who have been killed, our heartfelt prayers are with every single American affected by the loss of a loved-one from a previous war or conflict, and in the deserts and streets of Iraq or mountains of Afghanistan.
If you see on Gold Star Service Banner flying in the window of a home, please spend a moment in prayer and respect for this trooper and family.
While our Federal government does not issue Gold Star Service Banners, this is the official Gold Star Service Pin which is presented by the Department of Defense, DoD, upon the death of an active duty service member. It is furnished to the widow or widower, to each of the parents, to each child, and to the brothers, and sisters.
President Bush Proclaims Sept. 28 Gold Star Mother’s Day
WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2008 – President Bush has proclaimed Sept. 28 as Gold Star Mother’s Day this year. The day honors the mothers of men and women who were killed in the line of duty while serving the nation in the armed forces.
Congress designated the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Mother’s Day” in 1936, authorizing and requesting the president to issue a proclamation in its observance each year.
SERVICE BANNER REGULATIONS
On July 31, 1968, the the U.S. Department of Defense, DoD, issued regulations governing the design, manufacture, use, display and purchase of Service Banners and pins.
DoD regulations currently state that qualified active duty military personnel are Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard including “activated” members of the National Guard and Reserves. There is no requirement that a service member is or was stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere overseas to qualify.
Family members authorized to display the Service Banner include wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, stepparents, parents through adoption, foster parents who stand or stood in loco parentis, sons, daughters, stepchildren, children through adoption, brothers, sisters, half brothers and half sisters of members of the Armed Forces of the United States. * loco parentis means – acted as parents
The right of Grandparents, In-Laws, Aunts or Uncles to display the Service Banner is not addressed by the DoD.
DOD regulations also state that “The Service Banner may be displayed in a window of the place of residence of persons who are members of the immediate family of service members serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the armed forces of the United States may be engaged for the duration of such period of war or hostilities.”
According to the DoD, the Service Banner may “also be displayed by an organization” to honor the members of that organization serving in the armed forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities. The banners for organizations are also made in proportion to DoD specifications with blue stars placed on the white field to represent those members of the organization that are serving during the war or hostilities. Organizations as outlined by the DoD are churches, schools, colleges, fraternities, sororities, societies, and places of business with which the member of the armed forces of the United States was or is associated.
This is the official 3 X 5 foot DoD approved Blue Star Corporate Flag. It can be used by government, corporate America and other organizations as outlined above, to show their support for their employees or members who are serving active duty during this Global War on Terrorism.
The American Legion
Celebrating Over A Decade of Service