MyBlueStarFlag.com is owned and operated by The Level Playing Field Corporation. In honor of all of the brave men and women in uniform, we created this site to not only offer FREE Blue Star Flags to service members and their families, but also give users a platform to share their stories with others. Having met our initial goal of providing 200,000 FREE blue star flags to military families, it’s time to reflect on what’s next for MyBlueStarFlag.com. Many of our service members are transitioning home from deployments, closing a chapter in their lives and looking to the future; we are too. As of August 2011, this site no longer takes requests for free blue star flags.
History of the Blue Star Flag
The Blue Star Flag first appeared in 1917, when an Army captain who had two sons serving on the front line designed it as a tribute to their dedication and service. The flag quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in the service. Today, families who have a loved one serving in the military display a blue star flag in the inside front window of their homes to show the family’s pride in their loved one who is serving and to remind others that preserving America’s freedom demands much.
During World War I, the Blue Star Flag was used with subsequent standardization and codification by the end of World War II. They were not popular during the Vietnam Conflict but have come back into use. In modern usage, an organization may fly a service flag if one of its members is serving active duty.
During World War II, the Department of War issued specifications on the manufacture of the banner as well as guidelines indicating when, and by whom, the Service flag could be flown or the Service Lapel button could be worn.
Manufacture of these flags are only by specific government license in the territories under American jurisdiction. The same section of the U.S. Code that limits manufacture of the banner also mentions lapel pins. There is no legal specification of the banner’s size. According to the DoD code, the flag size ratio must be 1:1.9. When displayed with the national flag, the latter should take the place of honor. If the flags displayed differ in size, the national flag should be larger.
Blue and gold are the only colors specified for use, but some say silver stars are customary for those discharged from service because of wounds. Silver Star Families is an organization attempting to encourage the U.S. Congress to make the silver star official for those wounded in military service.
Display of the Blue Star Banner first came about during World War I. During WWI and WWII 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. Juneau.
Proper Display of Blue Star Flag
As required under the law, the Department of Defense has published specific guidelines for the design and display of service flags and lapel buttons. These instructions are contained in DOD 1348.33-M (click here to view), Manual of Military Decorations and Awards.
The Service flag may be displayed, in a window of the place of residence of persons who are members of the immediate family of Service members serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the Armed Forces of the United States may be engaged, for the duration of such period of war or hostilities.
“Immediate family member” is defined as: wife, husband, mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, parent through adoption, foster parents who stand or stood in loco parentis, children, stepchildren, children through adoption, brothers, sisters, half brothers, and half sisters of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States. Unfortunately, the definition does not include grandparents.
The Service flag may also be displayed by an organization to honor the members of that organization serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the Armed Forces of the United States may be engaged, for the duration of such period of war or hostilities.
“Organization” is defined as: group organizations such as churches, schools, colleges, fraternities, sororities, societies, and places of business with which the member of the Armed Forces of the United States was or is associated.
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 flag. 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.