military image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com

The Blue Star service flag has been a symbol of American military service for more than 90 years. Families with members in the service may display these flags, which are part of a long history of honor.

Origin

The service flag was originally created in 1917 by Army Capt. Robert L. Queissner, who had two children serving in World War I. Later that year, it was adopted by the the governor of Ohio as a symbol for parents with children in the armed services.

Significance

The flag itself is a white field with a red border, and a blue star. The blue star symbolizes the family member on active duty. If a serviceman dies, the blue star may be replaced by a gold star.

Organizations

Blue Star Mothers of America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group of mothers who have children in the military or honorably discharged. They hold events and fundraisers to help support service members, through activities such as sending care packages, volunteer efforts, a Chaplain Fund and more. There is also a similar Blue Star Dads organization.

The Silver Star

In recent years, there has been a movement to allow a silver star to replace the blue star on the banners of families whose members have been wounded in the line of duty. This change to the law has been approved in Missouri, and is awaiting congressional approval.

Interesting Fact

A single banner may have up to five stars on it, signifying that up to five separate family members are on active duty.