|The American flag has long been a symbol of pride and hope for the future.|
Emery County has been busy this past week honoring the American troops in Iraq and supporting the families left behind. Dixie Swasey from the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion presented a blue star banner to Betty Hatch. Hatch and husband, Gerry have a son, Shane Hatch who is serving with the 348th Transportation Company. His company keeps all of the fuel tanks filled and also are responsible for 50 mm machine guns. Shane cannot tell the family his whereabouts, but they expect he is on the 200 mile corridor from Kuwait to Bagdad. The family hasn't talked to Shane since he was in Ft. Bliss. The army took away the cell phones so they would not tip off the enemy as to the location of the troops. The family has received one letter since February. "We are watching way too much TV and listening to everything about the war to keep informed," said Hatch, "Shane and his wife JanaGayle are expecting a baby next week and it is a hard time for him to be away, but he wanted to go and defend his country.
Elaine Wilberg found among her mother's things two blue star banners from World War II. Her parents, Emmeline and Edward Cox of Castle Dale had five sons in the service. The sons were Edward Dan Cox, 29, who died in the conflict and left a wife and four children, Rex Cox, Kenneth Cox, Zeniff Cox and Monte Cox. Wilberg said she remembered the banners hanging in the windows of the family home while her brothers were gone. Three of them were in the marines and two were in the army.
|Betty Hatch is presented a blue star banner by Dixie Swasey.|
Swasey said the blue star banners were revived by the American Legion after the events of September 11. An Emery County quilting group called the Piecemakers is currently involved in sewing banners for area families with people currently serving their country across the United States and the world. The legion passed out posters for placement in windows until the arrival of the banners this coming week. These have been given to families with grandsons, nephews, nieces, sons, daughters, granddaughters, brothers and sisters in the armed forces. "We have over 70 names of families which we want to contact. Our department auxiliary president Carol Riddle began handing out posters. Others in the Ferron Post #42 where Jan Hess is president have been handing them out as well. Reva Fillmore has spearheaded the making of the banners with the quilting guild. Families with servicemen and women can also order blue star pins to wear in remembrance of those serving."
"The Blue Star banners were designed and patented in 1917 by World War I Army captain Robert L. Queissner of the 5th Ohio Infantry who had two sons serving on the front lines. The banner immediately became the unofficial symbol of a child in the service. The banners were a common sight during World War I and World War II. In 2001, the American Legion revived this tradition and spirit of pride in our military men and women following the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Blue Star Service Banner is an 8X16 inch white field with a blue star(s) sewn onto a red banner. Each star represents one family member serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. A Blue Star Service Banner displayed in the window of a home is a tradition in America. The banner lets others know that someone in their family is serving in the U.S.Armed Forces, or has been activated in the National Guard or Reserves. As citizens steel themselves for the long and difficult "War on Terrorism," the Blue Star Service Banner tradition reminds us all that this new war touches every neighborhood in our land. It also shows a family's pride in their loved one serving in the military, and reminds others that preserving America's freedom demands much," said Swasey.