1917 Service Flag

Oct 14th, 2018


The 1917 Service Flag, also known as the Blue Star Service Banner and as the Son in Service Flag, was designed by Army Captain Robert L. Quissner. He was a member of the 5th Ohio Infantry and had two sons that were serving on the front lines during World War I. The Service Flag is meant to be displayed by parents that have children serving in the military. The number of blue stars on the flag represent how many members of the family are serving.


Quissner patented his design in 1917. From that point, the flag caught on quickly not only with family members but by the United States government. It became a symbol that could be displayed to indicate loved ones were serving in the military regardless of which branch and regardless of which war. At that time, those wars included the Gulf War, the Vietnam War, and World War II.


In 1917, The September Congressional Record sessions approved strict guidelines for its use. The flag must be smaller than the U.S. flag that is being displayed and must be flown below the U.S. flag.


In 1918, the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense sent a request to President Woodrow Wilson asking that he approve gold stars on mourning armbands for grieving mothers that had lost a child to war. That request was approved. The practice led to the placing a gold star above a blue star on the Service Flag to indicate that a family member in military service had been killed.


The House of Representatives approved the use of a silver star to honor those wounded in battle in 2010. This addition makes it possible for families to honor service members that fought if they were killed or injured in battle.


In 1936, Gold Star Mother’s Day was declared to take place on the last Sunday in September of each year and is observed by presidential proclamation. It is not a public holiday. More information on Gold Star Mother’s can be found here at Military.com.


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