Gold Star Family Support Center

The History of the Blue & Gold Star Service Flags

The Blue and Gold Star Service Banners were designed and patented in 1917 during World War I by Army Captain Robert L. Queissner of the 5th Ohio Infantry who had two sons serving on the front lines.  It quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in the service.

On September 24, 1917, an Ohio Congressman read the following into the Congressional Record: "...The mayor of Cleveland, the Chamber of Commerce and the governor of Ohio have adopted this service flag.  The world should know of those who give so much for liberty.  The dearest thing in all the world to a mother and father - their children."

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. 

The Blue Star Service Banner typically displayed in windows is an 8.5 by 14 inch white field with a blue star(s) sewn onto a red banner.  The size may vary but should be in proportion to the size of the United States Flag.

Today, Blue Star Service Banners are displayed by families who have loved ones serving in the Armed Forces including the National Guard and Reserves of all military departments.  The banner displayed in the front window of a home shows a family's pride in their loved ones serving in the military, and reminds others that preserving America's freedom demands much.  It can also be displayed by businesses and organizations, as well. 

The blue star represents one family member serving in the Armed Forces.  A banner can have up to five stars, signifying that five family members of that family are currently in military uniform on active duty.

If the individual symbolized is killed or dies while serving, the star represents that individual will have superimposed on it a gold star of smaller size so that the blue forms a border.  On flags displaying multiple stars, including gold stars, when the flags are suspended as against a wall, the gold star (s) will be to the right of, or above the blue star(s) a place of honor nearest the staff.  As the "War on Terrorism" continues, the Blue Star Banner tradition
reminds us all that this new war touches every neighborhood in our land.

Researched by:  MSG Stephen C. Foster, 1st Cavalry Division.


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