Monday, October 02, 2006

Gold Stars and Dainty Americans

It was not very long after the WWII began that lists of names began to appear in the newspaper. These were the names of the local young people who had given everything they had for their country, the ones who were killed by the enemy, or were killed by accident or friendly fire. Every day for four years more names were listed.

Small banners began appearing in windows of houses. A broad red trim surrounded a white field with at least one star in the middle. A blue star indicated that a member of the family was in the military. A gold star signified that the family in that house had lost a son or a husband or a father (later, it could have been a daughter) in the war. The flags may have turned yellow from exposure to the sun, but they were seldom removed.

In a way, the gold star flags were a comfort to those who also had lost family. The flags made the statement, “You are not alone.” They were also reminders that this particular family had “given until it hurt” to the war effort and until you did at least that much, you should not complain. In every city across the country houses had windows with flags, lots of flags and lots of gold stars. The silence of mourning civilians bore testimony to their dedication to freedom and liberty. They make the whiners and complainers of the present era seem ridiculously small by comparison.

Perhaps this is indeed, the era of the dainty American.

No comments: