HOW TO SUPPORT BLUE STAR FAMILIES IN SEPTEMBER AND ALL YEAR LONG
By Buddy Blouin
Since U.S. Army Capt. Robert Queisser designed the Blue Star service flag in 1917 to honor his sons, the Blue Star family has been a designation for families with an immediate member serving in the military. The flag has a single blue star but can have up to five stars depending on the number of people serving. Blue Star families are a beacon of patriotism, and though there was a lull in awareness for them following the end of World War II, since 9/11, thanks to the American Legion, Blue Star families are back at the forefront.
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What Is a Blue Star Family?Blue Star families are made up of an individual's immediate family members while the service member is deployed. This is different from a Gold Star family, which is a family that has suffered the loss of an immediate family member due to a military conflict. Both designations denote the personal sacrifices of those within a household that families bare while a loved one is away serving our country.
Blue Star Families Welcome WeekBlue Star Families Welcome Week is between September 24 and October 2. During this time, it’s a great way for neighboring families to support Blue Star families that are a part of their communities. Various events kick off around the country, including community meet and greets, fitness challenges, fundraisers, and more. No matter where you are or how you choose to participate, this is a great time to not only get to know your neighbors but to do so through meaningful gestures and support.
Resources for Military FamiliesBeing a part of a Blue Star family comes with unique hurdles and can bring along mental health challenges that other civilians may not fully understand. Support is great, but having access to the right tools and professional help can be imperative for families in need of assistance. Organizations such as Blue Star Families, a non-profit dedicated to the community, and other Blue Star family counseling resources can help families overcome these issues in a healthy, productive manner. Here are some of the resources available to families:
- Career services.
- Museum access.
- Tuition assistance.
- G.I. Bill assistance.
- Food assistance.
- Support for the LGBTQ+ community.
- Financial assistance.
- Permanent change of station (PCS) assistance.
- VA assistance.
- Help for those transitioning from the military.
How To Become a Blue Star FamilyThere are guidelines as to who qualifies as a Blue Star family, as well as who should fly the Blue Star flag. These guidelines are in place out of respect to all those who serve as well as their households. The Department of Defense provides guidelines for who is eligible to be considered within a troop’s Blue Star military family. If you fit any of the following relations to a service member, you qualify:
- Adopted children.
- Adopted parents.
- Adopted siblings.
More like this:Gold Star Spouse Day: Honoring The Surviving Spouses of Lost Veterans
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