The Service Flag
by Sara Bates


The Service 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 and for the duration of such hostilities.
The flag or banner is defined as a white field with a red border, with a blue star for each family member serving in the Armed Forces. The Department of Defense specifies that family members authorized to display the flag in a window of the place of residence, are those who are members of the immediate family of a person serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.
There are also lapel pins that can be worn
to represent these flags.
The blue star flag that is part of the display
at the museum was displayed at the home
of Arlen and Sara Bates when their son, Aaron
was deployed in Iraq with the Marine Corps in 2003. If you look around your neighborhood there is a good chance you will see a flag hanging in the window of a military family.
The banner was designed in 1917 by a father
in Ohio that had two sons serving in WWI. It was quickly adopted by the public and government
officials and continues to be used. 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 on the top. Since 2012, September 30th is observed as Gold Star Mother’s Day.


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