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What is the meaning of a Red Star on a Son in Service Flag?


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I have several WW2 "Son in Service" flags - most with blue stars, some with gold stars, one with a red star, and one with a silver star. I thought the red star signified "wounded" but now surfing the Internet, it looks like a silver star also signifies "wounded". Does anyone know what the convention was, and did it change over time? The following pic looks like one silver and one red star, but it is two blue stars - one with silver foil over it, and one that has faded to a light reddish-purple.

 

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Don E. Wagner

 

www.soldiersmuseum.com

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Here is some information I found. It seems a red star my indicate a missing or captured service member.

 

 

"The Flag of the United States -- Your Flag and Mine" by Harrison S. Kerrick (Champlin Printing Co., Columbus, Ohio; 1925) that states (pg. 114):

 

"The State of Massachusetts, by resolution of its House of Representatives, May 28, 1918, established a new form of recognition of service under the U.S. Flag, based upon the practice that arose during the World War of displaying in the home office, club, or factory, a blue star (loyalty, sincerity, justice) upon a white field (hope, purity, truth) each star representing a member of the family or organization in service, by adding thereto certain emblems symbolizing events of service as indicated on opposite page."

 

The illustration shows nine different emblems, all based on the blue 5-pointed star (pointing up). It is entitled "The Star of Service - For the Flag, for Liberty, for Justice.":

 

1. A Blue Star - "Service in Army or Navy."

2. A Blue Star with a Gold Greek Cross in the Center - "Wounded in Service."

3. A Blue Star with a Gold Ring superimposed - "Decorated for Distinguished Service."

4. An inverted Blue Star with both the Gold Greek Cross and the Gold Ring (as in (2) and (3)) - "Missing."

5. An inverted Blue Star inside of a Red Ring - "Captured."

6. An inverted Blue Star superimposed over a Red Pentagon - "Wounded and Decorated for Distinguished Service."

7. A Gold Star bordered Blue with a Gold Ring superimposed on it - "Decorated for Distinguished Service," also seems to indicate the serviceman died, but that is not stated.

8. A Blue Star superimposed over a Red Pentagon with a Gold Greek Cross in the Center and a Gold Ring Superimposed on it - "Wounded, Decorated for Distinguished Service and Missing."

9. A Gold Star bordered Blue with a Laurel Wreath superimposed on it - "Died in Service. Laurel Wreath Optional."

 

Below the illustrations is the following caption:

 

"Gold represents wounds, distinguished service and death. Red, represents missing or captured. If desired, rank may be shown by the proper insignia of Officer or non-Commissioned Officer placed directly above the star. Service in the 'Zone of Advance' and foreign service may be symbolized by a gold chevron placed below the star, one shown for each six months of such service."

Collecting and learning since 1970

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Life Member, Disabled American Veterans
Member Dorsey-Liberty Post 14, American Legion

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Thanks - this is the first I have heard of these rather complex conventions. And I have never seen the variations they describe. But I am from Kansas myself (Wichita), now in Iowa, and sometimes these various patriotic groups and conventions never made it to the Midwest.

Don E. Wagner

 

www.soldiersmuseum.com

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From what I have read, several states had their own rules about stars, colors and meanings but non caught on. Most use the national standard of blue and gold only. I guess it would take some research, state to state starting in 1917 to figure out all of the meanings. On the flag I posted, I am not sure if the silver stripes on the blue stars mean wounded or at the front.

Cheers,

Henry

Collecting and learning since 1970

donation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2019.gif


Life Member, Disabled American Veterans
Member Dorsey-Liberty Post 14, American Legion

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