flag 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.
flag, also called the Blue Star Flag, was designed and
patented by WWI Army Captain Robert L. Queissner of the
5th Ohio Infantry who had two sons serving on the front
line. The flag quickly became the unofficial symbol of a
child in service. President Wilson became part of this
history when in 1918 he approved a suggestion made by
the Women's Committee of the Council of National
Defenses that mothers who had lost a child serving in
the war wear a gold gilt star on the traditional black
mourning 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 has died.
During WWII the
practice of displaying the Service flag became much more
widespread. Most flags were hand made by mothers across
the nation. One of the most famous flags was that of the
five Sullivan brothers who all perished on the U.S.S.
The Blue Star
Mothers was founded as a Veteran Service Organization
and was part of a movement to provide care packages to
military members serving overseas and also provided
assistance to families who encountered hardships as a
result of their son or husband serving in the war.
Congress chartered the Blue Star Mothers of America as a
Veterans Service Organization and in 1966, the
Department of Defense revised the specifications for
design, manufacture and display of the Service flag. The
Department of Defense specifies that family members
authorized to display the flag include the wife,
husband, mother, father, stepmother or father, parent
through adoption, foster parents who stand or stood loco
parentis, children, stepchildren, children through
adoption, brothers, sisters and half brothers or sisters
of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States.
The flag should be displayed in a window of the
residence of persons authorized.
flag may also be displayed by an organization to honor
the members of that organization serving during a period
of war or hostilities.
Flag is an indoor flag and should be flown facing out
from the front window of the home or organization. If
the U.S. flag is also displayed with the Service flag,
the U.S. flag should be of equal or greater proportions
and should take the place of honor above the Service
Each blue star
on the flag represents a service member in active duty.
A gold star is displayed if a service member is killed
in action or dies in service. If several stars are
displayed by one family the gold star takes the honor of
being placed at the top. The gold star should be
slightly smaller than the blue star to create a blue
border surrounding the gold star.
Display of a
Service Star Banner is done during times of war. Once
again families are displaying banners at home. Blue Star
Flags may be purchased through the internet, at stores,
or made by hand.