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States declare May 1 'Silver Star Day'

WASHINGTON (AFRNS) -- Thanks to the efforts of Silver Star Families of America, several states have proclaimed May 1 as "Silver Star Day" to honor the nation's wounded servicemembers.

Silver Star Families of America is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting the ways Americans are supporting the nation's servicemembers.

"What we really want to do is have a nationwide event that day," Janie Orman, the group's vice president, said. She added that the proclamation had been sent to every state. So far, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Idaho, Iowa, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nebraska and Mississippi have declared Silver Star Day, according to the group's Web site.

The group would like to establish May 1 as a national day of observance honoring America's wounded servicemembers.

"We need someone in (each) state to represent us," Ms. Orman said, adding the American Legion has expressed interest in supporting the group in this effort.

Orman also said that individuals wanting to help represent Silver Star Day in their state should contact her or Steve Newton, Silver Star Families of America's president and co-founder.

"Their main goal would be to get the word out about the Silver Stars and what we do: ... honor and assist our wounded and their families in any way we can," Ms. Orman said. "We do that by presenting the Silver Star banners and care packages."

The group also acts as an advocate for the wounded and works to educate the public about dilemmas wounded troops and veterans face, according to the group's Web site.

The Silver Star Banner, which the group is working to make a government-recognized service banner like those of the American Gold Star Mothers, will play a big part in observing Silver Star Day on May 1, Ms. Orman said. Silver Star Families of America members are hoping to present their banners to veterans and wounded servicemembers in each state.

They also hope to work with schools to help students understand why the day is important.

"I guess what we try to instill in them is that their freedom (to) go to school ... depends on our troops standing up for freedom," Ms. Orman said.