Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
I remember the first time I heard the term Blue Star Mother.
After our oldest announced his decision to enlist, I became hypersensitive to all things patriotic. Everywhere I turned, someone had ties to the military. It could be anything from bumper stickers announcing someone in the car ahead of me loved a soldier to tiny lapel pins in red, white and blue. My entire perspective was centered on those who served and the ones who loved them.
It was this sensitivity that led me to approach a woman at a conference I was attending. On the collar of her blouse was a small pin, a blue star within a field of white, banded by red. After our class, I asked her what it stood for.
“It means I’m a Blue Star Mother.” At my blank look she continued, “I have a son serving in the military.”
She had just described me, and I wanted to know more. I told her about my son’s upcoming enlistment, and she introduced me to the organization that would be my lifeline during my son’s time in the service.
Blue Star Mothers of America is a 501(c)(3) Veterans Service Organization (VSO). They were incorporated by Congress in 1942. They are nonpartisan, nonsectarian, nondiscriminatory and nonprofit. Their mission is simple:
There are Blue Star Mothers chapters throughout the United States, with more than 10,000 members. It’s easy to get connected. When I joined, the women in our local group welcomed me with open arms. They shared valuable information, support and prayers. Their friendship was one of the things that helped me through our son’s time in the military. I remain active to help support those women who are just beginning the journey with a child in the military.
If you have a son or daughter serving, or know someone who does, I encourage you to contact a local chapter. Get plugged into a group that understands what you’re facing. Not only will you have the support you need, but you’ll also be able to support others in similar situations.
What about you? Do you know about Blue Star Mothers of America? Share your stories in the comments below.
Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.