Since 1986, as part of the legacy of former Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger, April has been designated as the Month of the Military Child. This month underscores the important role our military children play in our armed forces family. Because purple is a color used to represent all military services, the theme “Purple Up” is used over the course of the month.
Service Across the Generations Barbara Salkow, Blue Star Mothers Gulf Coast FL -12, said, “Sometimes people forget that it is the entire family who serves.” Jennifer Denard, only child of Vietnam Veteran, Capt. William Branch, wrote about her Dad’s final letter home: I love you little girl and one day soon I’m coming home from this war. I am going to be the best Dad around. I’m going to make up for lost time with you and your Mom.
On Father’s Day of 1970, they buried him. Jennifer was two. His death went on to affect the whole of her life. It shaped the lives of her grandparents, her mother, and now it is foremost in the hearts of another generation-her own three children.
Today Cpt. Branch’s daughter and his grandchildren have embarked on a mission to establish a Forever Gold Star Family stamp. To understand the generational effects on military children, to the right is a poem written by Eli Denard at age 10, which embodies the essence of how military children live the legacy and love of those gone before them.
You Are Not Alone
As the American Flag I am created for an important role in the lives of the people of my country. Sometimes my job is happy and sometimes it is hard.
It is June 6th of 1970. Two military soldiers silently fold me into a single blue triangle. I can see a woman weeping with a baby in her arms. Though a crowd stands around me it is quiet here. Only the sound of Taps plays in the distance. A warrior has died.
I have covered his casket for a thousand miles from the country of Vietnam. As I am given to the woman who is crying a soldier says to her, “Presented to you from a grateful
I am home now. It is my honor to help her, to watch over her and to remind her of the missing man she loves. When you see me flying over buildings, or standing watch over school yards and homes remember, I am more than a symbol. I am grief. I am gratitude. I am comfort. I carry with me the whisper of generations who have gone before. I am the American Flag. And you are not alone.
In honor of my grandfather, Capt. William A. Branch, 2/14th INF 25th DIV. I wrote this from the perspective of his folded flag. His name can be found on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 9 West, Line 18
This month show your appreciation for military children by wearing purple. To find out how you can help the Denard family with their mission to get a forever Gold Star Family stamp, write to JD2813@aol.com.