The Branford American Legion Post 59 wishes to honor family and families of members of the Armed Forces who are serving in the war.

Family members are urged to stop by the Branford News office on Suwannee Ave. and pick up a replica of a Blue Star Service Poster and at that time give information about a loved one, for newspaper files.

Bill Mann is Commander of Legion Post 59. The following are facts about the Blue Star Service Banners:

The Blue Star Service Banner was designed and patented in 1917 by World War Army Capt. Robert L. Quelsner of the 5th Ohio Infantry who had 2 sons serving on the front lines. It quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in the 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. The dearest thing in the entire world to a father and mother-their children.

During World War II, the department of war issued specifications on the manufacture of the banner as well as guidelines indicating when and whom, the service flag could be flown or the service lapel button could be worn. The banner can be seen hanging in the front window of Mrs. Ryan's house in the movie Saving Private Ryan.

Today, Blue Star Service Banners are displayed by families who have a loved one serving in the armed forces, included activated members of the National Guard and Reserves, whether the family member is a son, daughter, brothers, sister, wife, husband, cousin, grandchild, etc. The Banner displayed in the front window of home shows a family's pride in their loved one serving in the military and reminds others that preserving America's freedom demands much.

The blue star represents one family member serving in the armed forces. A banner can have up to 5 stars, signifying that five members of that family are currently in military uniform on active duty.

A gold star replaced the blue star if that relative was killed or died in service. If more than one star appears on the flag, the gold star takes place of honor nearest the staff.

Blue Star mothers and Gold Star mothers organizations were established during World War I and remain active today, although with a reduced membership.

Blue Star Service Banners, while widely used across America during World War I and II were not embraced during the Korean or Vietnam wars with nearly the same enthusiasm.

The American Legion is rekindling the tradition and spirit of pride in our military men and women following the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The American Legion is providing banners to families in communities across the nation.

The Blue Star Banner is available at the Branford News office located at 705 NW Suwannee Ave. in Branford.

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