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Local chapter of Blue Star Mothers supports military families

The Nathaniel Adams Blanchard American Legion Post, which provided use of its banquet room, added appropriate atmosphere to the meeting. One wall carries photos of young men in uniform; the photos are in black and white or sepia-toned. A second wall is festooned with banners representing the service branches of the United States military.

For the last item on the agenda, everyone in the room introduced themselves. They spoke of their sons, ranging from 19 to 25, in the Army, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the Navy. Several were between tours, stationed at bases around the world, from Texas to Germany to Okinawa. Tours are mostly in Iraq, but Afghanistan and Korea were also represented.

As the introductions continued, connections were made among group members whose loved ones were in the same service branch or stationed at the same base. Quickly sketched stories revealed much, like the woman whose son is in intelligence and can't tell her what he's doing " for the first time in his life.

E-mail is wonderful, said another mother, except when it suddenly stops. "Talk about not knowing. It's hard," she said.

"We want to make this a small enough group " no matter how big we get " that we feel comfortable," said Moody.

Emotions were held, but evident nonetheless. There was a very strong sense that the people who came don't have a place to share their concerns in their everyday lives. These moms (and dads) are simply trying to keep track of their children.

"It will be so great to have a group where we can help each other out," one woman said, underlining the need for reassurance in times of uncertainty.

"As a mother, you want to know where your children are," said Ward. "Right now, I know he's safe. But when he's deployed," she said, leaving her thought unfinished. "It's the not knowing."

The next meeting of the Blue Star Mothers will be 6 p.m. Monday, March 19 at the American Legion Post at 15 W. Poplar Drive in Delmar. For information, write to Capital Region 2 Blue Star Mothers of America, PO Box 243, Delmar, 12054, or call 439-5784.

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