Published May 12, 2015
DAYTON, Ohio - These service flags from different eras show how designs have varied. Though they are now commercially made according to standards approved by Congress, many have been home-made with wide variations in symbols, shapes, fringe and lettering. The blue and gold stars remain constant elements. The flags are on display in Kettering Hall at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
DAYTON, Ohio - Service pins on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
A mother of three children in military service, Placquemines Parish, La., June 1943. Service flags for individual families can have up to five stars each. (U.S. Air Force photo)
This couple, symbolizing the average American family of World War II, has lost a child in military service—the mother clutches a government telegram informing her of her family’s loss. The blue star on the service flag in this anti-espionage poster will soon be replaced by a gold star. Government Printing Office, 1943.
Remembering those who died for our freedom: two members of the 377th Security Forces Squadron (SFS), Master Sergeant (MSGT) Timothy Uding and Senior Airman (SRA) Neng Hang, escort God Star Mothers Carmen Lopez and Florence Williams, while they place a wreath in remembrance of sons and daughters who did not return from war, at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial Park, Albuquerque, N.M. (Photo courtesy of DVIC)
A service flag and mother are powerful symbols in this World War II poster. Gasoline and rubber for tires were urgently needed to win the war and give her boy “a chance to get home.” Office of Defense Transportation, 1944.
The Bendix Aviation plant, Brooklyn, New York, showed its pride in its employee service members with this very large service flag during World War II. A plant guard salutes in this March 1943 photo. (U.S. Air Force photo)