The Citadel’s Gold Star Banner in Summerall Chapel

Today is Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day.

On June 23, 1936, a joint congressional resolution designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother’s Day and proclaimed annually by each president. In 2011, President Barack Obama amended the day to “Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.”

The Gold Star Banner over the altar in Summerall Chapel circa 1946. Each star represents a Citadel alumnus who died in service during WWII.

During World War I, Army Captain Robert L. Queissner of the 5th Ohio Infantry had two sons serving in France. He created what is now called the Blue Star Service Flag. It is a vertical banner with a white field with a red border and a blue star in the center. Hung in the window of the family home during times of war or conflict the banner signifies that the family has a member on active service.

Commencement, June 15, 1946. Notice the Gold Star Banner over the altar. 

If the family member is wounded by enemy action, the blue star is replaced by a silver star. If the service member is killed in action, dies of wounds, or dies in service, the blue star is replaced by a gold star signifying the loss.

The Gold Star Banner in Summerall Chapel 1950-51. 

During World War II, The Citadel displayed above the altar of Summerall Chapel a banner with a gold star for each Citadel alumnus lost during the war. This practice continued during the Korean War. It is not known what happened to the banner.