The Blue Star Banner program. Patented by an Army officer during World War I, the banners hung in windows became the unofficial symbol that a child of the house was serving in the military. Its use was widespread during World War I and World War II, but dropped precipitately after that. The American Legion rekindled and encouraged the program after 9/11, to drive home the point that this new struggle facing the U.S. military ultimately touches all Americans, whether directly or not.
May’s Armed Forces Day – the national holiday that united the separate days for honoring the separate service branches after those branches were united under the Department of Defense – is a perfect time to hold what the Legion calls Blue Star Salutes, community festivals to show appreciation for local servicemembers and their families. Posts can hold Salutes with other community organizations, as well as local National Guard and reserve stations and/or military bases. The Legion offers a free guide to help plan a Blue Star Salute on www.legion.org/publications, or in PDF form here.