Blue Star families are defined as those families having a member currently serving on active duty during wartime. It was designed and patented during World War I, by an Army captain in Ohio whose two sons were serving on the front lines. The banner became a symbol that families would proudly display to let their neighbors and townspeople know they had one or more family members serving.

World War II saw this practice resumed and became very popular. Banners were standardized and guidelines created as to the size of the banner as well as who was eligible to display it. Lapel pins also came into fashion, with the same restrictions as to those who could wear them.

During the Korean and Vietnam wars, the Blue Star Banner became less popular, and were not as widely displayed or used. It wasn’t until after Sept. 11, 2001, that the American Legion brought back and expanded this meaningful program.

The Blue Star Banner is red, with an 8.5-inch-by-14-inch white field with a blue star set in the middle of the white field. One banner may display up to five stars, each star representing a family member in military service. The Blue Star program also consists of lapel pins, vehicle bumper stickers, window stickers, magnets, patches, even challenge coins. Banners are also available to employers who have employees on active duty, serving overseas, to display at their place of business. These are configured differently, with a Blue Star Banner set in a field of white with the words “We Honor Those Who Serve.”

James B. Whipple American Legion Post 86 in Wilton supported the Phil Reeves family with a Blue Star presentation when Phil deployed overseas. We are now reaching out to the general public in Wilton, Weston or local communities, where families have a loved one serving on active duty, especially if they are deployed overseas.

If you or if you know of someone who has a family member serving in active duty — this includes reserves and National Guard of all branches of service — please have them contact the post through adjutant Tom Moore. Email legionpost86@gmail.com or phone and leave a message at 203-918-3767. Employers are also encouraged to respond, for any employees who fit the above criteria.

The most important function of the Blue Star Banner is its recognition of those who stand behind those serving all of us and defending our freedoms. These families also have to carry on without their loved one(s) and live their daily lives as “normal.” Especially for the husband/wife left behind, possibly with children, maintaining life as usual is not easy. We must do all we can to ease the burden and do what we can. Cutting the lawn, babysitting for a couple hours, invitations to a backyard barbecue, and children’s play dates are some of the easy ways to “pay it forward” to these remarkable families.
Tom Moore, Adjutant
American Legion Post 86