By the Fireside

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was born on this day in 1882. He died in office on April 12, 1945, just weeks before World War II ended.

Roosevelt is remembered for many things, including an expansion of government through many of his programs. But he was also known for his fireside chats, a series of 28 evening radio addresses given between 1933 and 1944.

In those addresses he spoke about the Emergency Banking Act in response to the Banking Crisis, the recession, New Deal initiatives, and the progress of World War II.

In times of national despair and uncertainty, Roosevelt was the voice of assurance and comfort.

A list of the addresses with either the transcript or the audio, can be found at this link on Wikipedia.


Blue Stars – Until they All Come Home

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.

“Goooooooooooood Morning, Bedford!”


On Saturday, September 21, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia will participate in National POW/MIA Recognition Day which seeks to support the missing Americans who have never been accounted for from American wars. The day seeks to help families find out whether their loved ones are still missing, still alive or dead. Theare are some 73,000 service personnel still unaccounted for from World War II alone.

Adrian Cronauer

Adrian Cronauer

Featured speaker at the event will be Adrian Cronauer who was an Air Force disc jockey on Armed Forces Radio Saigon. Cronauer returned to work as a broadcaster and later practiced law and was appointed by President George W. Bush as Special Assistant to the Director of the Pentagon’s POW/MIA Office. Cronauer was portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie, “Good Morning, Vietnam!”

Cronauer’s speech, entitled “Accounting for America’s Heroes” will focus on POW/MIA issues.

Read more about the event: National D-Day Memorial Honors POWs/MIAs