About one-half of one percent of the population of the United States of America serves or has served in the military armed forces of our country today. So, the end of the Afghanistan War, on December 28, 2014, after 13 years doesn’t really affect that many people.
Many people in the United States of America have probably never seen the service flags, the flags or banners with blue and/or gold stars that indicate the current service or death in the military armed forces of a family member. These flags are authorized to be displayed during a time of war and are to be retired from view once the war has ended. The flags were most popular during World War II, fell out of favor during the Vietnam War and gained popularity again with the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the distant past, the United States of America entered a war and won the war. People returned to their everyday lives and did not want to be reminded of past hardships or losses. People did not want to “dwell” on lost spouses or children.
Today, the war is over. The war is over not because the United States of America has won, but because the chattering classes have decided that the American people are “war weary” and the President of the United States has declared the war is over. The enemy has not surrendered. As a matter of fact, since the enemy does not understand “war weariness” or negotiated settlements, the taliban has declared victory in Afghanistan.
So, does that mean the service flags must come down? Had the enemy surrendered and given up arms against the United States of America, then yes. Put away the flags and banners of war. Time would be for renewal.
What do the mothers who have sent their children to war say? What do the mothers whose children did not come back from the wars say? While spineless politicians put it all behind them, what do the mothers of those children forever changed by these wars say?
While the United States of America is not in a declared war (that would require the politicians stick their necks out), the United States military armed forces are still in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and the Horn of Africa. Military armed forces are still in harm’s way.
Ann Walsh Lambrecht, President of the Blue Star Mothers of America Smoky Mountain Chapter in Knoxville, says that the service flag, “…stays up. It is a part of who I am. My child is serving our country and so am I.”
Dorie Griggs, is the mother of an Army officer and a Chaplain at a Georgia Veterans Administration Hospital. She believes that as the rules of our wars have changed, so should the rules for displaying our banners.
Loretta Smith is a South Carolina mother of an Air Force officer. Her son served stateside and participated in the Global War on Terror. Loretta believes that the banner honors all those who have fought in the past. She will be taking her banner down in support of the hope that no one will have to fight in the future.
The Gold Star Families of Pfc. Daniel Harrison, KIA December 2, 2004, Iraq; Spc. Christopher Fox, KIA September 29, 2008, Iraq and Lance Cpl. Billy Koprince, Jr, KIA December 27, 2006, Iraq, all had complex and strong feelings about the banners. These families are all from East Tennessee and participate in many military and veterans activities.
Bernie and Bill Koprince are having discussions over the service banner and have conflicted feelings about leaving it up or taking it down. The Harrison family is leaving the banner up as a reminder of Daniel’s sacrifice. Amy Frost, said of her banner honoring Christopher:
“When my son rises from his grave, I will take my Gold Star banner down…until then whether we are fighting a war or not does NOT change whether I am proud of what he sacrificed for nor does it change my Gold Star status,”
Whatever a President or gassy wind bag on television declares about the status of a war has no bearing on reality. The reality of the world is that terrorists want citizens of the United States of America dead because of Western ways and a different belief system. The taliban, ISIS, al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, the Haqqani Network are going to keep fighting and killing Americans.
The war is not over. Fly your service banners high