Marty Ross, left, and event organizer Sherryann Franks will honor relatives of military personnel with the presentation of Blue Star Service Banners in Wauseon.
WAUSEON — Presentation of Blue Star Service Banners will be held in Wauseon at 2 p.m. on Oct. 5, and area families with close relatives serving in the military are being asked to take part in the event.
The program will be held at the Wauseon Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on North Ottokee Street in Fulton County.
Because military records are private, event organizer Sherryann Franks has difficulty tracking down names of men and women who are serving now, and she asks that relatives of the military personnel contact her if they want to display the service banner in a window at their home.
“Blue Star Service Banners are presented to the families to serve as a reminder to the community that they have a loved one serving. This was actually started in World War I, and then fell out of favor during the Vietnam War, she said.
“This has been my seventh year in trying to get this back in favor.
“I think that it is vitally important that our community recognizes that we have local members of our community serving, defending our freedom. As in the past, the banners will be presented to each family after the master of ceremonies reads a short biography of the military personnel.”
Along with the banner, a handmade prayer shawl also will be presented to each family.
“It just touches my heart to see how a member of the community, Mrs. Marty Ross, has taken the time to hand-craft these beautiful shawls, and has done so for the past several years. It is my understanding that she has recruited her friends to help with this year’s project,” Ms. Franks said.
This year, a Gold Star family will be honored, paying tribute to a fallen military service member of that family.
Local artist Nora Sallows will paint an oil painting of the family’s son that will be presented to the family at the end of the program.
If weather permits, American Legion Riders will take part in the presentation of the colors to start the program, and bagpipe player John Gailbrath will be on hand to play as a soloist. The Fulton County American Red Cross will assist with the preparation and serving of a light luncheon following the program.
“I believe in this program 110 percent, as I have witnessed distraught parents attend and receive the oil painting of their lost loved one and they come back every year to support the next Gold Star parent.
“Over the last six years, we have honored 10 soldiers who have paid for our freedom with their lives. Last year when we made our presentation, the past recipients surrounded the new Gold Star parents to show their love and support,” Ms. Franks said.
“This day is always an emotional day, but I want people to know that their loved ones serving and the ones who have given their lives will never be forgotten.”
Deadline for making reservations and providing information on Blue Star Banner recipients is Sept 5.
Blue Star Banner presentations are not limited to residents of Fulton County, Ms. Franks noted.
The presentation program is also open to extended family members.
Contact her at 419-388-6010.
The event is supported by the Wauseon VFW Post 7424, and the American Legion Post 265 and their auxiliaries.
Since the local program was launched, more than 150 Blue Star Service Banners have been presented to area family members, and several Gold Star Mothers have been honored.
Gold Star presentations are made to mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service of our country, Ms. Franks said.
The Blue Star Service Banner is available to families who have sons, daughters, or spouses now serving in the U.S. military, she said.
According to the American Legion’s Web site, the Blue Star Service Banner displayed in the front window of a home shows a family's pride in their loved one serving in the military, and reminds others that preserving America’s freedom is demanding.
The banner was designed and patented in 1917 by World War I Army Capt. Robert L. Queissner of the 5th Ohio Infantry, who had two sons serving on the front line.
The banner became the unofficial symbol of having a child in the armed services.