"By the spring of the third year of the war there was hardly a ranch house in all of that country that did not have a gold star in the window"
Service flag in the window of a home
Public DomainService flag in the window of a home - Credit: Marjory Collins (Library of Congress)

First created in 1917, the blue star service flag displayed in the windows of homes where a family member was serving in the armed forces. The blue star became gold if a service member was killed or died on active duty.

First used in World War I, they became especially popular during World War II. Their popularity waned during the contentious Vietnam War, but they have since come back into use.


Although the U.S. had the lowest casualty rates of the major powers in World War II, New Mexico proportionately suffered the loss of more servicemen than any other state in the nation.