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Editorial: Blue Star flags appear in local family windows

Area families are flying Blue Star flags in their windows these days, thanks to New Richmond's veterans organizations.

VFW Post 10818 and American Legion Post 80 spent around $800 to purchase the Blue Star flags for the families of Company B soldiers, who were deployed Feb. 23 for an eventual mission in Iraq. The flags were presented to the mother and spouse of each soldier at the Operation Farewell ceremony in New Richmond.

(The VFW and Legion members, along with members from posts across the region, displayed colors outside the armory for Operation Farewell on Feb. 23 as well, as a show of support to the departing soldiers.)

The Blue Star flag, which is flown in the front window of someone's home, indicates to others that one of that household's loved ones is serving overseas in a war zone.

A few two star flags were presented to families in the area who have two loved ones deployed.

The tradition of the Blue Star flag originated with World War I. In 1917, the Congressional Record stated:

"The world should know of those who give so much for liberty. The dearest thing in all the world to a father and mother -- their children."

The flag, also known as the Service Flag, is blue, which stands for hope and pride.

Displaying the Blue Star virtually vanished during the Korean and Vietnam wars. But in 1968 the Pentagon issued regulations governing the design, use and purchase of Service Flags and pins.

The once-prominent Blue Star Flag that hung in windows in wartime is apparently making a comeback. The flag made a re-appearance during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. With the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Blue Star flag is being flown with pride more often.

Be on the look out for the flags, and thank those families who have sacrificed much for the sake of freedom worldwide.