Long Beach to Fly Star Flags Honoring Fallen Soldiers; Will Be Raised in Special Ceremony, August 15

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Gold Star Flag

Long Beach will be the first U.S. city to fly the Gold Star and Blue Star flags permanently at the City Hall Plaza to honor the service and sacrifice of our armed service members. A special ceremony to raise the two flags is scheduled for Thursday, August 15 at 11:30 am.

The request from American Gold Star Manor (3012 N. Gold Star Dr., Long Beach, CA 90810), the Blue Star Mothers and Gold Star Mothers to fly the two flags, was sponsored by Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, Councilmember James Johnson, and Vice Mayor Robert Garcia, and unanimously approved by Council on June 18th. A plaque proclaiming the flag dedication will be installed at the City Hall Plaza, 333 W. Ocean Blvd, where the ceremony will take place.

Blue Star Flag

Blue Star Flag

The Blue Star Flag is flown as long as our nation is involved in an active conflict. The Gold Star Flag is normally displayed by the mother of a fallen soldier in honor of their sacrifice and the family’s loss. Gold Star and Blue Star Mothers organizations were given permission by the U. S. Congress to display these flags, but until now, no city has flown the flags to commemorate and honor the mothers of services members.

“Long Beach has always been deeply supportive of our soldiers and their families. We are the only city which has an affordable housing community dedicated to providing a place to live for senior Gold Star Mothers and Veterans,” commented Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, “It is fitting to be the first American city to permanently display these two flags at City Hall.”

The current president of the Gold Star Mothers, Barbara Bernard, and 1st Vice President Jennifer Jackman, along with American Gold Star Manor Director, Terry Geiling will be the guests of honor at the August 15th flag raising by the Mayor and City Council. A reception honoring the incoming national officers and Gold Star parents will be held in the Captain Leonard Recreation Hall on the Manor’s grounds, 3021 N. Gold Star Dr, Long Beach, CA 90810, from 2-3 pm. Light refreshments will be served.

About the Gold Star and Blue Star Flags
The Blue Star Flag was designed and patented by WWI Army Capt. Robert L. Queisser of the 5th Ohio Infantry, and quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in the armed services. In 1918, President Wilson approved the wearing of a gold star on a black mourning arm band by mothers of fallen service members. Soon after, gold stars were used to cover the blue star on flags to indicate the loss of the service member.

In 1960, Congress chartered the Blue Star Mothers of America as a Veterans Service Organization, and in 1966, the Department of Defense revised the specifications for design, manufacture and that an organization could display the Blue Star or Service Flag during a period of war or ongoing hostilities. When flown together, The Gold Star Flag is flown above the Blue Star Flag.

About the Gold Star Mothers
The Gold Star Mothers organization was formed after WW1 to recognize mothers who had lost sons or daughters in the service of our country. It is now a national organization headquartered in Washington DC with dozens of chapters across the country. . More information about the organizations and history of the flags can be found here: http://www.bluestarmothers.org/ and here: http://www.goldstarmoms.com/index.htm.

About American Gold Star Manor
Originally called The American Gold Star Home, the national home for American Gold Star Mothers was founded in early 1960s by Eleanor Boyd, who was then the president of the American Gold Star Mothers organization. It acquired a large portion of the old naval housing property in Long Beach and, with the help of HUD financing, built 348 apartments of low income senior housing. In 1973, the old buildings were replaced with a $6 million dollar complex with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and renamed American Gold Star Manor. It became a charitable non-profit corporation in 1975 and is headquartered in Long Beach, California. The retirement community was set up after WW2 to provide low cost housing for Gold Star mothers. Gold Star mothers, fathers, veterans and other eligible seniors now reside in this beautifully landscaped facility. The Manor continues to provide support for and work closely with the national Gold Star Mothers organization, the Long Beach VA Hospital, US Vets and area veterans. More on the history of the Manor can be found here: http://www.goldstarmoms.com/WhoWeAre/GoldStarManor/GoldStarManor.htm.

You can read an excellent Wall Street Journal article about American Gold Star Manor, Gold Star Mothers, and life after losing a child in combat.

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