Harford Week

April 13, 2003

Military spouses revive tradition of gold-star flags

Kati Haggard, 10, brushed gold paint last week on a wooden dowel for a flag dedicated to her gymnastics teacher, Army Pfc. Diego Rincon, who was killed in Iraq.

"We wanted to give it to his family to let them know we support them," said Kati, while making the flag with her mother, Sherri.

The two, visiting Aberdeen Proving Ground from their home in Georgia, joined a group of military spouses who gathered to make gold star flags for the families of service members killed in Iraq.

The tradition dates to World War I. In 1917, Army Capt. Robert L. Queissner of the 5th Ohio Infantry designed and patented a simple flag to reflect the active service of his two sons in the war.

The flags were picked up by a group called the American War Mothers and were soon seen in the front windows of homes across the country. As casualties mounted, a new tradition developed: those who had lost a son sewed a gold star over the blue one to represent the ultimate patriotic sacrifice.

The phenomenon, so widespread that President Woodrow Wilson called the group the "Gold Star Mothers," remained an American military fixture through World War II.

"It lost popularity during the Korean and Vietnam wars as there wasn't so much support," said Elaine Valentin, who makes the flags and is trying to revive the tradition. "People were ashamed that their loved ones were fighting overseas, but I think that especially since Sept. 11 that has changed," she said.

On April 2, Congress passed a resolution calling on Americans to recognize the importance of the flags and encouraging family members of those serving in the armed services to proudly display them.

Each double-sided cotton flag is 12 inches by 14 inches and hangs from a wooden dowel with two gold tassels. The star is centered on a white background with a red border.

Whiteford man charged in Pa. highway death

A Whiteford man who, police say, was hauling a box spring that flew out of the truck he was driving and struck an oncoming minivan, killing a woman, has been charged in the incident.

Roger Lee Teague, 48, is charged with accidents involving death or personal injury.

Teague, reached at his home by telephone Wednesday, said he knew nothing about the charge, according to the Associated Press.

Police say Teague was driving south on Route 74 in Peach Bottom Township, Pa., on Jan. 11 when a box spring flew out of the bed of his truck and struck an oncoming minivan, driven by 52-year-old Linda Shuler of Lower Chanceford Township, Pa., a mother of three.

Fullerton woman, 18, killed in crash on Prospect Road

A Baltimore County woman died and her boyfriend was critically injured Wednesday night in the crash of a sports car that was taken without permission from an automotive garage belonging to the boyfriend's uncle, state police said.

Daniel Alan Nichols, 19, of Bel Air lost control of the 1986 Chevrolet Corvette on Prospect Road in Street about 7 p.m., police said. It struck an embankment, hit a traffic sign and slid 70 feet on its roof, said Tfc. George Jackson.

Killed was Amy Marie Stadelman of the 1800 block of Link Ave. in Fullerton. Nichols was in critical condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Lambdin begins work on Wexford development

Lambdin Development Co., a developer of residential and commercial real estate in Harford and Cecil counties, has announced that it has broken ground on Wexford, a residential community on Old Philadelphia Road (Route 7) in Aberdeen.

The development will include 134 single-family houses built by Ryland Homes. Model homes are expected to be open this summer, Lambdin said.

Bel Air Lutheran church honored by military

The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1515 Emmorton Road, Bel Air, has received two awards from the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for its support of the Rev. Kenneth H. Homer Jr.'s call to active Army duty after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Brig. Gen. Arthur W. Pulket, vice chairman of the ESGR Maryland Committee, presented Good Shepherd with the Local ESGR Chair's Award during recent services at the church. The award is presented annually by each ESGR Committee. It is designed to recognize those employers who have gone beyond the legal requirements for granting leave for military duty.

Good Shepherd has also received the ESGR Patriotic Employer Award, presented to employers who support their employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. Homer is a chaplain and major in the Army Reserve. He served a year of active duty with the 400th Military Police Battalion at Fort Meade after the 2001 terrorist attacks. He returned to Good Shepherd on Nov. 19. Homer is senior pastor at Good Shepherd.

John Carroll organizing packages for soldiers

Members of the John Carroll School community are working on Operation Care, making care packages for the men and women overseas.

Operation Care will conclude Thursday with a prayer service. Items such as sunscreen, socks, toiletries, reading materials, bottled water, batteries and playing cards can be dropped off in the outreach office on the school's campus. Information: 410-879-2480, Ext. 28.

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