The Signing of the Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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In World War I, families who had sons serving in the War would place a banner with a blue star for each son in the window. If the son was lost, a gold star was superimposed over the blue star, leaving a blue border.
World War I Army Captain Robert L. Queissner of the 5th Ohio Infantry designed the Blue Star Service Banner. He had two sons serving on the front line in Europe.
On September 24, 1917, an Ohio congressman read 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 all the world to a father and mother – their children.
While first used in World War I, the flags were standardized and codified by the end of World War II. In modern usage, an organization may fly a service flag if one of its members is serving active duty. [Wikipedia]
Those entitled to display the service flag are officially defined in 36 U.S.C. § 901 which reads:
A service flag approved by the Secretary of Defense may be displayed in a window of the place of residence of individuals who are members of the immediate family of an individual serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged.
I don’t know if my great-grandmother had a blue star flag in her window in their home in Southwest Virginia. I do know she prayed daily and daily looked down into the valley to see if the train would be bringing her son home.
My journey to tell that story in Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy continues.
My script, Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy, continues to be a work in progress. As I’ve mentioned, it’s in the editing stages now.
But to get to his point I found that I had to read and research much more than what my grandfather had written in his diary, and what my aunt had provided in commentary.
So, for weeks, perhaps months, I read more about World War I. I searched the Internet. I listened to podcasts.
And then it really hit me that I didn’t need to “study war no more…”
The story I’m telling is that of one American soldier, not the entire U.S. military or England and France.
I’m telling one story, and the tendency is to want to put in all of the details, all of the history.
But, then I wonder how much an audience really needs to be told about the horrors of war. That’s almost a given. Almost.
What’s not a given is how that war affected the average soldier far away from home.
That’s the story I’m telling.
This blog is the story of that story. There’s work to be done.
After all, it’s a long way to Tipperary.