Being a Blue Star Family

Blue Star Service FlagThis is a service flag. I have one hanging in a window of my house. This tradition began during World War II, when family members would hang placards or banners with blue stars in the window. Each star represented a loved one serving in the war. Later, they became sanctioned by the Department of Defense and can be displayed by an immediate family member to honor a serviceman during a time of war.

So, here is mine. My brother, who, as I have mentioned before, is a captain in the Army. He is a MP (military policeman). He is currently serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.

During his first tour of duty, there was this knot that settled in the bottom of my heart during his entire time there. Some days, I could ignore it. But sometimes it became unbearably tight, especially on important days like birthdays and holidays. When he made it back to his wife, who was living at the base in Germany that he was stationed at, the knot untied.

When he learned that he was going to be serving in Iraq again, I felt the strings pull tight. When he emailed to say that he was in Kuwait, the loops were made. And when he called to say “I’m in Baghdad,” the knot formed again. The same weight and tightness that I’d felt so palpably the first time returned to its old place, and I realized just how much peace I’d had, knowing that he wasn’t in harm’s way.

This time is even more difficult for him – his first child, my new niece, is due in 2 weeks. He won’t be there. The first time he sees his daughter will probably be when he gets a two-week leave this summer, and while she will still be a baby, she won’t be a newborn. I can’t imagine how it will be for him when he finally gets to meet her.

I’ve been asked, how do you live with something like this? How do we get through the days, knowing where he is?

First of all, I pray. I pray a lot. I believe in prayer, and I know my brother does, too. Second, he does keep in contact with us – he does have some internet time and can make phone calls. While the bulk of that time gets dedicated to his wife, he does keep in touch. And finally, as he does his duty, I do mine. I raise my kids. I go about my life as I normally would. That is my responsibility in life.

Though I support the president and the war, I don’t mind if you disagree. I just want to go on record saying that I am proud of my brother, and I love him. Even though he was a pain in the butt growing up, somehow he turned out to be a really good man. I don’t know how it happened – maybe I’ll take some credit. 🙂 And if it happens to cross your mind, please remember to pray for him. He needs it. They all need it. And not because things are terrible over there, or because the war is wrong, or anything like that – they just need to know that people back home care about them, and appreciate them.

And on a different note altogether, American Idol
I say that Ace, Taylor, Elliott and Chris are definitely in the Top 12. I think that Will is gone, and the rest of the guys (Kevin, Gedeon and Bucky) are all on the fence. Once the Top 12 are in place, it will be interesting to see which “side” gets decimated first – guys or girls.

3 Responses to “Being a Blue Star Family”

  1. linda
    March 9th, 2006 09:15

    Deanna, Thank you for your elegant expression of Family Love, your Pride and Patriotism and the close and treasured sibling love and connection you and Jonathan share. We know and understand all of these emotions and keep Jonathan and all the Troops in our hearts and prayers. We do not have a Blue Star Flag but our American flag flies proudly every day! love and hugs from all of us!

  2. Oddball
    March 9th, 2006 10:07

    Just remember what The Captain does and I do we do because we love our families and our country. While I am sure he would much rather be with his wife and daughter, we both know that we work/fight so that our kids will not have to someday. You are right to honor him in such a manner.

  3. Deanna’s Corner » Blog Archive » “M” is for…
    May 23rd, 2006 00:18

    […] 5) Military – I never really thought of us as a military family when I was growing up, though we have had several members of the extended family serve with distinction. My great-great-great-grandfather was a chaplain and a corporal in the Union Army during the Civil War, and was present at the battle and fall of Vicksburg. My maternal grandfather was in the Navy, and served onboard a submarine. My paternal grandfather attempted to serve in the 442nd during World War II, but received a medical discharge soon after enlisting (bad knees). It wasn’t until my brother decided to pursue an Army career as a senior in high school that my perceptions really changed. He attended a military junior college, was commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduating, got his BA from the University of Alabama, got married, and got posted to Germany and then went to Iraq. He’s now serving his second tour of duty there. Life is different on this side of things. I’ve talked about it before, but he is never far from my thoughts. […]