The gathering was small, but respectful. There was pride in being a veteran, and pride in being the relative of a veteran.

Blue Star Banners were presented to the families of area veterans on this occasion, except for one active duty soldier who, along with his wife accepted the banner in person.

The Blue Star Banner program started in the World War I era. Conceived and designed by a man who had two sons serving in the war; his pride led to the banner that showed he had soldiers in the conflict. His sons were represented by the two blue stars on the white background, surrounded by a red border.

The design was adopted with each blue star standing for an individual serving in the conflict. There can be up to five stars on each banner.

During World War II the government adopted the program. There were thousands of Blue Star Banners displayed over the entire United States.

The program went inactive during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. After Sept. 11, 2001 the program was brought back to the forefront and remains active to the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

American Legion Post 250 of Bridge City recently made banners available on request for any family who has a veteran in any branch of the service.

Banners were presented to the families of five area military service personnel Saturday, Nov 7, at the Circle Drive Baptist Church.

Recipients were the families of Air Force Airman 1st Class Ryan Cedars, Air Force Airman 1st Class Sascha Oliver, Army Pfc. Jeffery Gibbs, and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Edward V. Parks. Army 1st Sgt. John Jenkins was in attendance and accepted his banner, along with his wife Nicole and their children.

Banners will be sent to the families of Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Dane Savoy, Army Staff Sgt. Gloria D. Sterling, Army Staff Sgt. Timothy Sterling and Air Force Senior Airman Justin Winstead.

The banners were presented by Veterans Service Officer, Jerry Childress, Post 250 Commander Mike Reilly, retired Air Force Lt.Col. Glen Dutton, and Army Maj. Donna Peterson.

Dutton was the keynote speaker. He gave the history of the program and also urged the families to “send a picture of the entire family with the banner to your loved one and show them the pride the family has in their service.”

Also on the program were Jack Comer, pastor of Circle Drive Baptist Church, Donna Hall, Commander of Post 33, Beaumont, Post 250 Commander Mike Reilly, Post 250 Adjutant Arlene Howard, and Chaplain Marv Howland.

During the program, as the theme song for each branch of the military was played, veterans of those branches stood to be recognized and thanked for their service.

The Blue Star Banner Program was sponsored by Circle Drive Baptist Church, Claybar Funeral Home, A-1 Peterson Plumbing, and American Legion Post 250.