America has NOT Forgotten Awareness Campaign
Currently less than 1% of the American population serves in the military. Too often it feels to the military community that America is not a nation at war, but a country of military friends and families at war.
Our brave service members who sacrifice so much for our freedom are the sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and friends of America and so every American should be a part of supporting them in some way. When it comes to our troops, there is not seven degrees of separation as is often said about the general public. If you look at your circle of family, friends, neighbors and coworkers you will find at the very most one degree away.
This campaign is an effort to remind America that our service members continue to, in the words of General Ray Odiero, “soldier 24/7,” even after ten years of war.
Every month we will publish ways for your voice to be heard in hopes that one or all of these ideas will be within your time and budget constraints. You can provide that inspiration our warriors need to continue fighting for our great nation. Together we can show our heroes that “America has NOT Forgotten!”
The image that represents the campaign was designed by several of our members and drawn by Marine, Iraq Veteran Jeremy Giacomino. It shows a service member down on one knee with his head in his hands representing our troops, weary from being at war for over ten years. The comforting hand of the child reminds him of the future he is fighting for. The child’s eyes are fixed on the America Flag, a symbol of freedom and hope. Both are in the shadow of the flag, symbolizing those who have paid the ultimate price for what our flag represents.
3 Ways to Help
1. Write a letter a week to our troops for the month. Then mail them to OSOT America and we will include them in our comfort packages. We hear from our troops all the time that this is one of the most coveted items in our comfort packages.
2. Next time you are at the store pick up some extra slim jim/beef jerky, granola bars, canned nuts (2ooz or less), eye drops, non-aerosol shaving cream or foot powder (20oz or less) and drop it off at a drop location near you. Click Here to find the location nearest to you.
3. Fly an American flag in honor and remembrance of all the lives that have been lost since the beginning of these wars. If you have the ability, please fly your flag at half mast.
You can always donate to OSOT America in order to sponsor a comfort package which costs $25 on average to ship.
3 Educational Items
1. Have you ever seen this blue star image in the form of a flag in the window of someone’s home (blue star service banner) or a pin on someone’s lapel (service lapel pin)? Each blue star represents one loved one that is on active duty in the Armed Forces including activated members of the National Guard and Reserves. The service banner can contain up to 5 blue stars, signifying 5 active duty service members in the family. This symbol is only displayed during periods of war or American engaged hostilities and are a reminder that there is a cost to these conflicts.
The blue star service 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. This became the unofficial symbol of a child serving. Then on September 24, 1917, an Ohio congressman read the following 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.”
During World War II, the Department of War issued specifications on the manufacture of the flag as well as the guidelines indicating when and by whom the Service flag could be flown or the Service Lapel button could be worn. According to the Department of Defense, the following families members may display this symbol including the wife, husband, mother, father, stepmother or stepfather, parent through adoption, foster parents who stand or stood loco parentis, children, stepchildren, children through adoption, brothers, sisters, half brothers and half sisters of a member of the Armed Forces. The Service flag may also be displayed by an organization to honor the members of that organization serving during a period or war or hostilities.
2. Do you know what a gold star service banner stands for? The gold star signifies the family has made the ultimate sacrifice and their service member is killed in action or dies in service.
The concept of the gold star service banner came a year later in 1918 when President Wilson approved a suggestion made by the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defenses that mothers who had lost a child serving in the war wear a gold gilt star on the traditional black mourning arm band. This led to the tradition of covering the blue star with a gold one on the Service flag. The gold star is slightly smaller than the blue star in order to leave a blue boarder around it.
If several stars are displayed by one family, the gold star takes the place of honor of being placed at the top when displayed vertically or to the right of the blue stars nearest the staff.
3. Do you know the proper order to display the flags for the 5 branches of the military? Some would say it’s alphabetical, others believe it’s by their creation date, but neither group would be completely correct. The flags are flown in the following order today as we are a nation at war: the National Colors; Army (June 3, 1774); Marine Corps (November 10, 1775); Navy (October 13, 1775); Coast Guard (August 4, 1790); and Air Force (September 18, 1947). In times of war, the Coast Guard operates as part of the Navy; otherwise in times of peace the Air Force flag would precede the Coast Guard flag.