Military Families: Service Banners and Their Meanings

It is not only the soldiers that make sacrifices in their service. The commitment and support of family members can be an arduous and costly journey as well. Those who are not close to an individual in the service may not be familiar with the significance of the red-bordered service banners and star-adorned lapel pins displayed by family members of the U.S. military.

Vet Con 3.21.2014The Blue Star Banner

A red and white rectangular banner marked with one or more solid blue stars, the Blue Star Banner is often found hanging in windows, but sometimes represented on lapel pins, license plates and decor. They are likely to be seen around military communities and installations as the membership remains relatively exclusive. The tradition of the blue star banners began in World War I. Each blue star represents a member of the immediate family actively serving in the military. The designation is often given to mothers but is applicable to any immediate family member.

Vet Con 2 3.21.2014Symbolism of the Gold Star

The representation of a gold star indicates the death of a service member. A golden star lapel pin is presented to the next of kin by the Department of Defense. One of two types gold pins are presented to the immediate surviving family depending on the circumstances of the service member’s death. April 5th has been designated by congress as Gold Star Wives Day to honor and recognize the spouses and family members that have lost a loved one in military service. Gold star families will forever carry the burden of their loss. A day or recognition provides an opportunity for others to honor their sacrifices and pay tribute to their family member.

Veteran Connection blogs are written by ACI’s very own Clinical Specialist, Megan Hawker, MA, IMF #65325; Major, Medical Service Corps; US Army Reserves

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