Like Dan, I am currently writing some encyclopedia entries for Dr. William Pencak. I just finished one on the Blue Star Mothers of America. For those of you who do not know, the tradition of hanging a blue star service flag in the window was started during World War I by a Captain Robert L. Queissner. Captain Queissner wanted to honor his two sons serving on the front lines in Europe. The blue, symbolizing hope and pride, turned to gold, manifesting sacrifice, when news arrived of a servicemen’s death. In February 1942, The Blue Star Mothers of America was formed amidst the fervor of World War II. They served, and continue to serve today, as a veterans support organization.
I was wondering if their were any similar traditions during the Civil War? I know their was the custom of keeping a lantern or candle lit in a window just in case a soldier returned home. I also know that many women served in hospitals and various support roles during the war. Were there any mother associations formed? or was there any public symbols indicating a loved one’s sacrifice?