Gold Star Mothers and Service Banners

Gold Star Flag

This is typical of a service banner made by a Gold Star mother.
This is typical of a service banner made by a Gold Star mother.

History of Blue and Gold Star Banners

Service Banners have been a tradition since World War I and are for display by families who have sons and daughters in uniform in an armed conflict which lead to the formation of God Star Mothers. The banners are red and white with blue or gold stars, or sometimes both colors. The flags may have one or more stars. The blue star service flag came first in 1917, after America entered World War I. A United State Army Captain, Robert L. Queissner, of Ohio created the banner to honor his two sons where were serving in the Army in France. It was immediately so popular the Governor of Ohio adopted the flag as a symbol of service. Then they the banners spread quickly to numerous communities.

A group of Indiana women with sons in the service organized the American War Mothers on September 27, 1917. Members displayed the blue star banners in their windows of their homes. As soldiers were killed in action they decided to sew a gold star over the blue star. In May 1918, President Woodrow Wilson officially endorsed the gold star to reflect a child that died in wartime service. Also, the Council of national Defense suggested that woman who had lost a son wear a black armband with a gold star. President Wilson agreed and referred to these women as “Gold Star Mothers.” Many families hung the American Flag, then the blue or gold star flag in their window as patriotism was very high.

Blue Star Banner

Gold Star Mother's Day

In 1925, American War Mothers obtained a national charter from Congress. Then in 1936, Congress recognized God Star Mothers and proclaimed that the last Sunday of every September was “Gold Start Mothers Day.” During Work War II, the display of these blue star and gold star banners reached an all time high. Theodore Roosevelt's family had a banner with a gold star in honor of their son who was shot down over France in 1918.

This was a wonderful tribute to the fallen soldier and it recognizes the worse grief a parent will ever have to endure.

Rob Raubeson, Banner Maker

Rob Raubeson- A Banner Making Day

Today, service flags are black. In Soldiers Magazine Elizabeth Cole wrote an article called “Honoring service members one stitch at a time.” She wrote of Rod Raubeson’s dedication as he has sewn 3,500 flags on an old Singer sewing machine and plans to continue working. He was inspired four years ago when he couldn’t find the banner he wanted to purchase in honor or a friend that was about to deploy. The flags can be symbols of patience, hope and worry, or of honor, grief and ultimate sacrifice. Raubeson is a 70 year old Marine Vietnam Vet and has been recognized by the Army’s Institute of Heraldry as an official service flag maker. Any one who wants a flag may contact him at his email address: grunt_cp160@yahoo.com.

The banners are 12” by 17” and on a busy 12 hour day Raubeson can make 10-12 banners which include painting the wooden hangers which come from small flags used to decorate veteran’s graves. He doesn’t accept donations but is in talks with Singer for supplies. He is not in a partnership for help with the cost of shipping, and the banners are gifts to families. Raubeson has declined to say how much banner making costs him. He is a non-profit corporation and working on a website. He treasures the Thank You notes and comments from families. Churches, schools, fraternities, sororities, society groups and businesses that have members service can also hang the banners. He is truly a hero! He helps those coping with a lost of a family member, which is one of the worst things that can happen for a parent, or a spouse.

There are other flag stores and the American Legion where banners may be purchased as well.

Blue Star Flag

Follow along below to see how to make banners.
Follow along below to see how to make banners.

Banner Making Step 1

Banner Making Step 2

Directions for Making a Banner

Making the banners is fairly easy for anyone with a some sewing experience and a sewing machine, so you are interested in making a banner the directions are below..  You can add gold fringe and the number of stars necessary for your situation. .   These directions came from the following quilting website and I give them full credit. http://with-heart-and-hands.blogspot.com/2008/03/directions-for-making-blue-or-gold-star.html


  • 1.To Make a Blue or Gold Star Service Banner you need basic sewing supplies and fabrics of red ( for (4) 2 1/2" strips), white ( for a 9" x 14" center panel) and blue ( for a star that is about 7" x 7") I chose to make mine a quilted banner, so I also used a thin batting.
  • 2. The 2 1/2" red borders are attached to both of the sides and then both the upper and lower edges. Trim evenly to size. By using a machined zigzag stitch or turning under and hand sewing, the star is then appliquéd to the background (white) fabric and through the batting.
  • 3. Right sides together, seam front and back together, leaving a small side opening for turning right sides out.
  • 4. A narrow 'quilting rod' sleeve can either be hand or machine sewn on the backing. I show it here with a cord indicating its location. Fold it under to the back and slip stitch down for the final project.
  • 5. I also added free-motion or meander quilting stitches throughout the center panel's surface to create a decorative effect and emphasis the quilted banner aspect.
  • 6. To 'hang', insert a wooden dowel or curtain rod through the quilt sleeve unit in the back and hang with decorative cording, as desired.

    As an alternative hanging method, you can use two narrow hanging loops and insert the rod through them. Make them with two pieces of 2 1/2" strips stitched down or seamed right sides together. Iron flat, and insert between sandwiched layers while stitching top seam in Step #2.

In Summary

The Blue and Gold Star Banners are a time honored tradition and is especially important to those that have lost a loved one in battle. I found the history of the Gold Star Mothers to be interesting and the service of Rod Raubeson to be inspiring. He is giving his time, his money and talent to serve a special need and giving so much of himself would make him a hero in my book.

The copyright to this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 32 comments

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Pamela,

Excellent hub on the honoring of servicemen's mothers. Raubeson has gone way beyond the call of duty and we should also honor him as great American patriot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Tom, I agree. I just read about him a few days ago and knew I needed to write this hub about his service to others. Thanks for your comment.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

A wonderful way of celebrating the sons and daughters fighting for the country. Lovely idea. Thank you Pamela for your great hub and I definitely learned something there.


Partisan Patriot 6 years ago

Pamela

Great hub giving reconition to a wonderful organization.

God Bless America, American Soldiers and American Soldier's Moms and Dads!


AARON99 6 years ago

This really a great hub on this topic. Raubeson is just outstanding. Thank you Pamela for giving such a nice hub. Well done. Enjoy.


HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah

Thank You. Thank you for this uplifting and inspirational reminder of the support behind the lines.

I am a patriotic mom myself.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Hello, Patriot, Aaron and Hanna, Thank you so much for your comments. Hanna, I remember when my son fought in Desert Storm and I was never allowed to know where he was. It was a scary time. I have a nephew in the military now just back from Iraq, so when I read about this man it touched my heart. Patriot, You're right - God Bless America, American Soldier's Moms and Dads.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

What a great patriot! Good job, Pam.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Habee. Thanks a lot.


Amber Allen profile image

Amber Allen 6 years ago

A very interesting hub Pamela. This was a subject on which I knew very little. Thank you. Amber:)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Amber, Thank you for your comment. I didn't know much either until I did some research and I was impressed with Rod Raubeson.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

A very interesting read about Rod Raubesons and his sensitive and caring contribution to those often overlooked. All glory to God!

Forever His,


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Rev Lady, Thanks for your comment. Yes, all Glory to God. God Bless.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Thanks for a wonderful and very important hub. This is all new to me.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

BPOP, I appreciate your comment. I read an article then did some research as it was new to me also.


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

Very interesting. Learned something new. I enjoyed this a lot.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Janny, I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comment.


nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

Thank you for a very interesting hub. Rod Raubeson sounds like an amazing person.


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

This is a wonderful and great hub Pamela! The story is beautiful and touching and I am so glad you shared it with us. I also think it very creative you included the instructions! Two thumbs up!!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Nancy and Ann, thank you so much for your comments.


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

Well written. I just wish that there was no need for such a banner in the first place. Peace to us all.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Support Med, Me too. Thanks for your comment.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas

Great hub. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Smireles, Thank you for your comment.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

What a wonderful hub, I love it, this is so important, Mothers are special and should be recognized...thumbs up....


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Darlene, Thank you for your comment.


FCEtier profile image

FCEtier 6 years ago from Cold Mountain

I mentioned these flags in a review I wrote about a WWII book. Your article is timely for me and most interesting!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

FCEtier, Thank you for your comment. I will check out your review as my husband reads WWII books all the time.


mquee profile image

mquee 6 years ago from Columbia, SC

During the Vietnam era, family's posted blue star decals in the windows of their homes. It seemed that before I went to Vietnam and afterwards as well, that nearly every home had at least one in the window. Often a lot of young people in the military don't always agree with war, however they have pledged to defend the country and they stand true to their word. I have all the respect for veterans, in the world. Thank you for remembering them as well.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Mquee, Thanks for much for your comments. My husband is a Vietnam vet. He believes in serving your country but it was a tough sacrifice for many.


manlypoetryman profile image

manlypoetryman 5 years ago from (Texas !) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before...

Great Hub Article! Thank you for this History Outlook on the Blue and Gold Star Mothers. And Special Thanks goes to Rob Raubeson! This is an excellent piece of information. Voted Up...for sure!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

manlypoetryman, I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub and I appreciate your comments.

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