Parkersburg News and Sentinal October 17, 2008

PARKERSBURG - The Veterans Museum of the Mid-Ohio Valley is looking for mothers to start a local chapter of the Blue Star Mothers and put up banners signifing those who have sons and daughters actively serving as well as those who have lost loved ones in service to their country.
The Blue Star Banner Program was initiated in 1917 during World War I, and the banners were a common sight during both World Wars. The program was resurrected by the American Legion in 2001 after 9/11. The banner is displayed in the window of a home where a family member is currently serving in the Armed Forces. In addition to the Blue Star banners, Gold Star Service Banners are displayed to show that a family member has died while serving.
Gary Farris, Director of the Veterans Museum of Mid Ohio Valley, started this project with an idea to provide banners to mothers and wives that have loved ones deployed. They are currently compiling a list of mother and wives they can hand flags out to as well as start a Blue Star Mothers chapter in West Virginia.
''We don't have a chapter here,'' Farris said. ''West Virginia is one of the few states who does not have a chapter.''
Rejeana Jackson, museum projects and events coordinator, said the organization provides a support network families can turn to when they need help. They want to get enough wives and mothers together to make a formal presentation of banners in front of the community. They are also looking for sponsors to help purchase the banners.
''With a small amount of research the Blue and Gold Star Mothers organization touched my heart with just how dedicated they are to the sons, daughters, husbands and wives of our Armed Forces as well as each other,'' she said. ''There is not a chapter in West Virginia and I believe that it would be wonderful to bring this tradition to Parkersburg and the surrounding areas.''
Parkersburg is taking the steps to join many other communities across the country in showing its pride and support for all Armed Forces personnel and their families, said Tammi Collins, museum board member.
''As we continue to fight the War on Terrorism the Blue Star Service Banner tradition reminds us all that this war touches every neighborhood across our great country,'' she said. ''Fortunately we are winning the war, our military personnel are proud of their work and accomplishments and we should show that we are proud of them and the sacrifice that they make daily so that we can sleep safely in our beds at night.
''Many families have not seen their loved ones in several months and I think that bringing this tradition to Parkersburg and the surrounding area will help solidify the families that have committed to serving our country. As we drive through our neighborhoods and we see these banners, we should have a sense of obligation to acknowledge those families and let them know that we support the efforts that their loved ones are carrying out.''
As people go about their daily lives, they sometimes forget a war is happening halfway around the world and that many of the friends and neighbors are over there on the front lines, Collins said.
''We shouldn't forget that,'' she said. ''We are encouraging military families to step forward and let us know about your husbands, wives, sons and daughters that are serving or have lost their lives serving so that we can get a banner to you."


10-20-08 10:37 AM
As the mother of an Army Soldier, Aunt to a Soldier and a Sailor it gives me great pleasure to hear that my hometown is trying to establish a Blue Star Mother's Chapter. I joined a year ago here in NC and it's the most rewarding thing I could ever have done. I've met Mothers of new young military and military that have given their ultimate sacrifice to our Nation. We've sent packages, written letters and cards, and held hands of those that are so fearful. It was surely a comfort to me when my son was sent to Iraq and I pray that all the Mothers of Military will join together in WV to serve, that wives, grandparents, and aunts, sisters, etc. will join as associate members to remind our military members wherever they are that they are loved and appreciated.
Thank you for trying to give everyone a place to talk about fears, celebrate promotions, and do it ALL the time not just when there's a war. Sharon


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