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LEGACY ALMOST FORGOTTEN

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With a Blue Star Banner Flag proudly displayed in their home, Tony Moore relaxes with mom and dad during his brief stay back home on Indiana Avenue, Thursday, November 3, 2005.The Blue Star Banner, or Service flag as it is sometimes called, can be seen in the front window of the Moore home on Indiana Avenue. This red flag with a blue star is proudly displayed because Kevin and Blaise Moore's son, Tony, is serving overseas.

Tony, a 2003 graduate of Bishop Luers High School, has already served 9 months in Iraq, as a lance corporal in the Marines-IMEF-sensor operation. Tony was recently welcomed home for two weeks, and will soon return to proudly serve our country, just as his dad did during the Vietnam War.

The Moore family initially heard about the Blue Star Program from Tony's aunt.

Cindy Peters-Chairman of National Security at American Legion Post 296 on Tillman Road tells The Waynedale News, "It is a legacy that has almost been forgotten over the years. The Blue Star Banner program began during World War I and is designed to help service member's families, someone to be there for friendship and support. And especially to show the active service members that we appreciate them, and their service."

During Tony's deployment his mom said that she has sent him a variety of items, including cards and letters. Occasionally he will get the opportunity to call home but phone use is really hard to come by, said Tony. "It is not uncommon to stand in line for 2 hours waiting to get a line out." "And then we only get 3-5 minutes of talk time." His mom mentioned that the one thing these guys really appreciate is some food from home. "I send dried fruits, granola bars, energy bars, chips and salty snacks," said Blaise.

Speaking of his experiences in Iraq Tony said that one of the highlights while he was serving was when he came upon a white object in the middle of a dirt road. He said, "I yelled-stop! STOP!" The driver stopped the truck, did a 360, jumped out of the truck and picked up a lacrosse ball. Tony was proud to say that he signed the ball with his name and location of his find - Al Asad-airbase in Iraq, and gave it to his high school lacrosse coach Mr. Schmidt at Luers.

"We know that in today's society, people sometimes don't even know their neighbor. We believe that by displaying a Blue Star Service Banner it will let everyone know just how close to home this battle against terrorism is," commented Cindy.

David Parrish American Legion Post 296, along with all the American Legions, is demonstrating their full support by presenting the Blue Star Banners to military and their families, including activated members of the National Guard and Reserves. The family member could be a son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin, husband, wife, or grandchild.

American Legion Post #296 would like everyone to join them in reviving this almost forgotten tradition by receiving and displaying a Blue Star Banner. The Service flag may be displayed as long as you or your family member is in the military.

If you have any questions or to learn more about this Blue Star Banner program you can reach Cindy Peters at the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 296, 130 W. Tillman, Chairman of National Security at 456-2988.

"It was really great to see Tony, hug him and hold him for awhile," Blaise said. "It is the best feeling in the world." Let's keep these service members in mind especially over the holidays, send them a card or letter, better yet a box of snacks.

The history of the Service Flag is as patriotic and touching as the symbolism each star on this flag represents to the families that display them. The Service Flag, also called the Blue Star Service Banner, was designed and patented by WW I Army Captain Robert Queissner of the 5th Ohio Infantry who had two sons serving on the front lines. It soon became a common site in America's neighborhoods during World Wars I and II. It was the unofficial symbol that someone had a child or husband in the service.

During WWII the practice of displaying the Service Flag became very popular. In 1942, the Blue Star Mothers of America was founded as a veteran organization and was part of a movement to provide care packages to military members serving overseas and also provide assistance to families who encountered hardships as a result of their son or husband serving during war. Virtually every home and organization displayed the banners to indicate the number of members of the family or organization serving in Armed Forces. In 1960, Congress chartered the Blue Star Mothers of America as a Veteran Service Organization.

In 1966, the Department of Defense revised the specifications for the design, manufacture and display of the Service Flag/Blue Star Service Banner. The banner is comprised of a white field and a blue star centered on a red banner. A banner can have up to five stars signifying that a family has five members in the military. A gold star replaces the blue star if a serviceman was killed or died while in the service. The colors of the stars are symbolic in that the blue star represents hope and pride and the gold star represents sacrifice to the cause of liberty and freedom.

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