Jan. 19, 2010 — The Soaring Eagle Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers should be commended for its Blue Star Banner project along Main Street in Susanville. The banners feature a photograph of a warfighter currently serving in the military somewhere in the world — many, but not all, in the hostile and dangerous environments of Iraq or Afghanistan.
The Susanville City Council, the Lassen County Board of Supervisors and the Lassen Municipal Utility District also should be commended for their strong support of the banner project that honors both the warfighters and their families.
Those among us who have a family member who has volunteered to serve our nation and put himself or herself in harm’s way to defend our freedom understand the dedication, commitment and courage of these brave young men and women. They don’t have to be over there. They’re exactly where they want to be, doing the job they believe must be done. The country called, and they answered.
Our Blue Star Banners honor the warfighters and their families. This is a unique local twist because the Blue Star Banners normally honor only the warfighters. In fact, the Blue Star Banners in Susanville are the only ones in the entire nation to extend the recognition and honor to the warfighters’ families.
It makes sense because the their service really touches the entire family — mothers and fathers, spouses and children, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles and all the other extended family members as well.
While they’re battling for our freedom, these warfighters miss holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter. They won’t be around to share the Super Bowl or the World Series or the Indianapolis 500. They’re not at home to celebrate birthdays, weddings, reunions and other important family events. And should some unfortunate occurrence arise within the family, they won’t be at home to offer their care and support to their loved ones who must endure the crisis without them. Every member of the family feels their service in some way.
If everything goes according to plan, the warfighters will be formally recognized at City Hall when they complete their service in the military and return home. The mayor is expected to give the warfighters the banners that hung along Main Street and plaques detailing when and where the banners were displayed.
When you drive down Main Street in Susanville, and you see the nearly 50 banners on display so far, it’s impossible not to recognize the sacrifices made by these courageous men and women and their families. Perhaps most importantly, they put a decidedly local face on what can sometimes seem like a distant conflict in some faraway place we only know about from what we see on television. For our local warfighters the struggle is very real.
We await the happy day when each and every one of them can return home safe and sound, and we can finally put these scary days of war behind us.
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