LAWRENCE — You might just miss the banners displayed in Lawrence as you drive down 56th Street, but for the families of those who are serving our country, they mean the world.
“I am just proud. I am proud of every one of these banners out here. They all have moms, just like me,” Marica Ashmore said.
The banners hang from light posts on 56th Street with the name, rank and service branch of each active-duty military member from Lawrence displayed for all to see.
The Blue Star Banner program has been around since 2009. There are just over 25 banners displayed right now.
“All of those banners represent someone is that very special. It makes me realize freedom is not free,” Ashmore said. “Every one of these men and women are supporting our country, and that’s why they do what they do.”
Ashmore has two sons who are in the Marines. Her nephew is in the Army.
“I am a proud mom. You can’t sum it up. I love them so much. They’re a big accomplishment in my life — My children,” Ashmore said.
All three of their names are proudly adorned on a Blue Star Banner in Lawrence.
“We would like him here, but he is there doing what he needs to do,” Jim Massel said.
Massel’s son, Michael, is in the Navy.
“It’s hard to describe how proud I am,” Gary Davis said.
Davis’ grandson, Jalen, is in the Army.
Each of these families are proud to have loved ones willing to sacrifice their life for the sake of the United States, but it isn’t always easy.
“It’s very difficult. Family times, like Christmas is hard because we’re never all here together,” Ashmore said.
A piece of their hearts is not at home, but this simple gesture in Lawrence allows these family members an opportunity to have their loved ones nearby.
“I’m so proud. It sometimes brings tears to my eyes,” Ashmore said.
For more information on how to get a banner for your loved one, click here.