I know that many people see this flag and don't have a clue what it means, so I thought I would enlighten you.
When was the Service flag first flown?
The Service flag was first displayed in the front windows of homes during World War I to signify a son or husband serving in the Armed Forces. The flag quickly became known as the "son in service flag" with each blue star indicating one family member. During World War II, the Department of War issued specifications on the manufacture of the flag as well as guidelines indicating when and by whom the Service flag could be flown or the Service Lapel button could be worn (an example of the flag can be seen hanging in the window of Mrs. Ryan's house in the movie Saving Private Ryan). Another great movie with the Service flag is the Majestic!
What does the blue or gold star signify?
The blue star represents one family member serving in the Armed Forces. The blue star is covered or replaced with a gold star to indicate that the family member was killed or died during the war or period of hostilities. The blue star represents hope and pride, and the gold star represents sacrifice to the cause of liberty and freedom.
What do multiple stars signify?
Each blue star indicates one family member serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. If multiple stars are shown, a gold star takes the place of honor nearest the staff
How were World War I and World War II Service flags made?
During WWI and WWII, most flags were constructed using cotton fabric with the white field and blue stars sewn onto the red banner. Many flags were also manufactured using felt, satin or silk. The original samples we had two embroidered on wool felt.
Why only one star on the Service Lapel Pin (button)?
Department of Defense regulations specifically state that multiple stars are not authorized. "The blue star of the Service lapel button worn by members of the immediate family shall signify that one or more Service members are serving in the Armed Forces of the United States ... Multiple blue stars are not authorized on the lapel pin."
DOD regulations further state: "...A gold star in not authorized as part of the Service Lapel Button...", however, the Service lapel button may be worn in conjunction with the Gold Star Lapel Button which is distributed to applicable family members if the member of the Armed Forces loses their life during an armed conflict.
Was the Service flag flown during Vietnam?
In 1966, the Department of Defense revised the regulations and the specification for the display of the Service flag. Although some families did display the flag, we can only speculate that due to the open contempt that was publicly displayed during the Vietnam conflict, few families chose to display the Service flag, or even knew of its existence.
Why display the flag now?
The Service flag is authorized for display by Americans to honor their family members who are serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during ANY period of war or hostilities. It is not necessary for the Service member to be stationed overseas, or be present where hostilities are taking place. All of the military service members contribute to the performance of our Armed forces regardless of where they are located, and they can also be called upon at any time to enter combat! Our Armed Forces continue to participate in activities to combat the War against Terrorism, and to police unrest throughout the world.
Keep America proud of our Armed Forces by participating in this custom to honor our servicemen and women and to recognize and acknowledge the risk their families face while their loved ones fight to protect our freedom and security!
Please join us in reviving this almost forgotten tradition by displaying the flag, wearing the button, or telling your friends that have family members serving in the Armed Forces.
Department of Defense Regulations state that family members authorized to display the flag include:
Wife, husband, mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, parent through adoption, foster parents who stand or stood in loco parentis, children, stepchildren, children through adoption, brothers, sisters, half brothers and half sisters of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States.
Peope have written to several US Representatives to see if Grandparents can be added to the 'OFFICIAL' list. There are already many grandparents who are participating to show their love and support of the grandchildren!
The Service flag may be displayed in a window of the place of residence of persons who are members of the immediate family of Service members serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the armed forces of the United States may be engaged, for the duration of such period of war or hostilities.
Thanks for sharing. Because we live only 50 miles north of Camp Pendleton, there are many families in our neighborhood who have them displayed in their window. We have proudly displayed our 3 star banner in the window for 2 years now in honor of our 3 USMC sons.
Teresa and Larry
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I also have a three star. One for Michael (Army), One for Ashley (Air Force) and One for Dana (Navy). I keep a small window flag for each branch of service in our window. We also have a nephew-in-law in the Marines.
My banner has all their names on it.
The branch of service on the left is for the first name, top is for the middle name and the right side goes with the last name. I only order from one place and they do a great job. I have a 3x5' flag for outdoors. I have ordered a new one because mine faded.