Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. (BSMA) is a private non-profit U.S. organization that provides much-needed support for mothers who have sons or daughters in active service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Originating during World War II, the name came from the custom of hanging banners in the window for every family member enlisted in the military. If the service person was living, the banner would bear a blue star. The banner would bear a silver star for injured in war, and a gold star for every service member lost. The stars could represent sons, daughters and – in some cases – stepchildren of the families displaying the banners. Banners could also be used for service members honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces.
In August 2010, at the National Convention held in Grand Junction, Colorado, a resolution was passed that would forever change membership eligibility. The new provision would expand membership opportunities for more women who have supported service members in new conflicts and varying family structures. For instance, the law updates the Blue Star Mothers Congressional Charter to accept grandmothers, adoptive mothers, female legal guardians, and foster mothers. The law also expanded membership to mothers whose children have served more recently, which served to remove references to specific conflicts, as well as expanded membership to include mothers living abroad of the United States.
The idea for Blue Star Mothers was conceived by Army Captain George Mains, who ran a newspaper article in Flint Michigan in 1942. That article requested information about children serving in the various branches of the armed forces. Over 1,000 mothers responded and on February 1, 1942, the first Blue Star Mothers meeting was held. More than 600 mothers organized the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. That same year, chapters formed in the states of Michigan, Oregon, Wisconsin, Iowa, California, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania.
The flag that represents the Blue Star Mothers of America was designed and patented by World War I Army Captain Robert Queissner, who had two sons serving on the front line. The flag Captain Queissner designed quickly became the unofficial symbol of any child in service.
The original goal of Blue Star Mothers was to bring our sons home and to ensure they received the benefits they deserved. We also sought to help service members’ families, as well as assist during hard times and whenever tragedy occurred. Over the years, our goals have broadened to include hospital work, rehabilitation, civil defense, and children’s welfare.
Where We Are Today
Just as when our organization was founded, we continue to focus on providing emotional support to all of our members while providing support to active military troops and veterans. We engage in volunteer work with veterans and veterans’ hospitals and work toward fostering a sense of patriotism and ongoing respect for all members of the United States Armed Forces. Local chapters carry out individual projects of their own choosing. For instance, they may work in physical and emotional rehabilitation, help with medical supplies, food and transportation, as well as clothing, friendship, gratitude and love for those in desperate need.
We welcome anyone who is a Mom, Step-Mom, Grandmother, Foster Mother or Legal guardian of any active or honorably separated service member to join. Or you may join our efforts as a Dad or Associate. All are welcome, contact us for details!