The Service flag (also called the Blue Star banner) is an official banner authorized by the Department of Defense for display by families who have members serving in the Armed Forces during any period of war or hostilities the United States may be engaged in for the duration of such hostilities.
The flag or banner is officially defined as a white field with a red border, with a blue star for each family member serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. A gold star (with a blue edge) represents a family member who died during military operations.
The Blue Star flag was introduced during World War I by Army Captain Robert L. Queisser who had two sons serving on the front lines. The flag quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in service. Later, the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense suggested that mothers who lost a child serving in the war be able to wear a gold star on the traditional black arm band. This led to the tradition of covering the blue star with a gold star on the Service flag to indicate that the service member had died.
During World War II, the practice of displaying the Service flag became very widespread. However, the practice was almost ignored during the Vietnam War.
The Department of Defense specified what family members are authorized to display the flag to include the wife, husband, mother, father, stepmother or stepfather, parent through adoption, foster parents, children, stepchildren, children through adoption, brothers, sisters and half-brothers and half-sisters of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States. The Service flag is an indoor flag and if displayed, should be facing out from the front window of the residence of the persons authorized.
If the United States flag is also displayed, it should be of equal or greater proportions and should take the place of honor above the Service flag.
If a family has more than one family member serving, they can have a flag with multiple stars on it. A gold star flag, if displayed, should take the place of honor above the blue star flag.
The Walter W. Craig American Legion Post in New Bethlehem would like to honor all those families who have loved ones currently serving their country by presenting a Blue Star or Gold Star flag to them.
Families wishing to receive a Blue Star or Gold Star flag should provide the service member’s name, branch of service, relationship to the individual submitting the request, and contact information to: American Legion, P.O. Box 244, New Bethlehem, PA 16242.
Walter W. Craig
American Legion Post