In “1001″ we say how we LOVE “conversation starters.” It’s our #282 of the 1001 Things to Love: Unit T-shirts, unit jackets and hats, tie tacks, and bumper stickers are given as a few examples. Well, this blog is about another conversation starter and, as an added bonus, you get to listen in on the conversation.
Back at the beginning of summer I was running a route through a nearby neighborhood like I sometimes do, and I saw what can only be described as a jaw dropping sight. I’d gotten used to seeing American flags being flown with Flag Day being so recent and Fourth of July too. But, this was a Blue Star flag and what more was that it was a Four Blue Star flag. It was exhilarating and astonishing all at the same time.
If you don’t know what Blue Star banners are or what they represent, they represent a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or whatever the case may be PER star. I immediately thought, “That poor mother.” My next thought was, “That proud mother!” I’m fairly certain I am nearly too “close to the situation” of having both a husband and a son in the military and that is why those thoughts, of the mother, came first.
Needless to say, I wanted to get to know the family behind the flag and I have a little bit. Allow me to introduce the Clarks, the 4-Star Family, here to share a little bit about why they LOVE military life.
MSG Michael Clark is the head of this family with 19+ years of military service in the Army as an MP or military police. Also: Airborne!
SPC Christopher Clark—Air Assault!—followed in dad’s footsteps while PFC Timothy Clark broke Army family ranks to join the US Marine Corps. There is also a star for their cousin SPC Zachary Meyers an MP like his uncle.
This makes Wendy the proud military wife, mother, and aunt! She assures me I have the adjective right and says, “We love talking about our family. I’m very proud of them!” I can only assume Michael and Wendy’s daughter would pipe in here with a “yes ma’am!”
LML: When did you first see and know what a “blue star” was?
MSG Clark: I have a love for military history and learned about the blue star when I read about it and saw it on tv. I respected the loss that mothers would have during times like the Civil War and WWII. Something touched me about seeing movies or documentaries with a flag with a gold star.
891. Blue Star banners
Since World War I, Blue Star banners have been displayed by families,
loved ones, and organizations to honor Service members
on active duty during times of war.
LML: What made you choose the military?
MSG Clark: We have a proud military family right now. We didn’t do much talking about military when I was little, but sometimes you seem to know your destiny. I don’t remember much teaching on authority (surprisingly), but I had much respect for law enforcement and for soldiers. I think my boys had much respect for their grandfather (Tom) and for me. They somehow knew it was their destiny also. I never pressured them into it because I know it is hard.
907. The rewarding feeling that we’re part of a legacy that predates the birth of our nation
Soldiers feel they owe something to those who came before them,
and spouses serve from the home front just as wives have been the “home front” since … forever.
LML: When I learned that your family has been represented in mostly all key military actions since the Civil War, I thought how that really must satisfy your love and curiosity of military history. What does your military family have in store for the future?
MSG Clark: Chris wants to get a degree with computers and to become a commissioned officer—1st in family history. Timmy wants to be a Command Sergeant Major in the Marines, also a first in family history.
I plan on retiring within the year to devote time to my wife and give the boys “their turn” and to support them.
LML: 1001′s #919 is “Lessons Learned.” What have you learned that you can share with your sons and nephew to make their turn at military life as rewarding as it has been for you?
MSG Clark: I think the best things that I learned are the values that I have gained from the absolute hard times, which come with some of the good times. The military is a roller coaster ride.
925. Never a dull moment!
Can the Clarks get a Hooah! Oorah!? And an Amen!
It was purely my pleasure getting to know their story. I only got to scratch the surface in terms of learning what makes them tick, but I wouldn’t have gotten that far had they not first flown their 4-Blue-Star flag. So many across America are Blue Star families or support Blue Star families but don’t fly a flag or represent with some other conversation starter. I think that’s unfortunate, and I hope this blog encourages people to share their story via a flag, bumper sticker, or here (wink-wink) as a comment to this conversation.
Join us again in two weeks, August 31, when we continue with Wendy who loves her military wife life and is looking forward to sharing her part of the story.