(By Susan Naill - 2002-2004 Past President of the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc)
Additional information see - www.bluestarmothers.org
It takes 5 moms to begin a new chapter. The officers needed are President, Vice President, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, and Recording Secretary.
Set up a meeting date. Use your local cable station, newspapers, radio and recruiting offices to publicize.
National will send a charter application and start up information.
The name of the chapter is up to the members--it should also have a number. For instance Blue Star Mothers of ____ Chapter 1 etc. or a name such as city or country.
We do have by-laws--they are in the process of revision. The by-law book is old and confusing. National is in the process of getting the necessary votes to suspend some of the older rules. Will keep you informed. Your input is welcome on structure. Under the Congressional Charter we must have a form of constitution and by-laws and follow parliamentary procedure--however, we have the latitude to switch from business to support. And as Mickey says so nicely--no one wants to go to a meeting and listen to last month's minutes. The best quote of the year.
I am a believer that each chapter will take on the character of its members and the chapters are the backbone of the organization. You are in the cities and towns and know what is needed and can be creative in doing that.
We have two strict policies--we do not and never have made any distinction regarding race, color, creed, national origin. Our children all serve together and so shall we pray, hope and give support. Our organization is the only organization that held to this since inception in 1942.
The other is very important. We are non-partisian. We cannot and should not endorse any political party or candidate and not allow our organization to be used in any campaigns. Remember that our children have not joined the military under a political party--they all serve under the flag of the United States of America.
This does not mean that we cannot join in public demonstrations supporting our troops, speaking out about our children and their welfare. No mother wants to see her child in a war--however, we must remember that the Armed Forces is just that to defend America and it citizens through whatever means is necessary.
It is important that we follow the same code of conduct as our children are expected--praise in public and criticize in private.
We can make a difference and we will. I do not like to toot my horn-- however, I think an interview that was done in March of 2000 about the organization might be worth reading. Log on to DefenseLink -- site for the department of defense and in the search engine put in Blue Star Mothers or my name Susan Naill.
Long before the attacks on September 11, we saw the need to revive the legacy of the Blue and Gold Stars and support our men and women in uniform and our veterans.