I come from a military family and one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve seen these past 15 or so years are all the gold star stickers on the back of trucks and the gold star banners hanging in peoples windows. Possibly more heartbreaking is the fact that the majority of folks don’t seem to know what that means anymore.
The Service Banner is a rectangle with the long side vertical and the short side horizontal, red borders, white center and from one to several stars. The stars represent immediate family members currently serving in the US Military. The color you want to see is blue. Originally only blue and gold stars were used, but as more and more people are hurt and wounded in these never ending wars silver stars have been used to represent those who were invalided out or discharged from service due to wounds.
The tear jerker is to see someone’s banner be replaced with a gold star. That means their family member was killed in action. The phrase Gold Star Mother should 100% of the time hammer home to you that this woman lost a child who was defending your right to live your life with the freedom of choice to choose how you live it and they deserve your profound respect and gratitude.
With the wars heading into their 15th year, unfortunately Gold Star Families are becoming more and more common. For the first time since Vietnam, we our sending our loved ones overseas in multiple deployments with no real definable goal of when their jobs are done or their mission complete. Triangular Flags in display cases are in more and more living rooms, and these families have given more than their share
So this memorial day, whether you see that white haired old man in his “WWII Veteran” ball cap, or you see that kid who barely looks old enough to be out of high school but he’s mature beyond his years…those are the Blue Stars, they came home, and their family breathes a sigh of relief every day.