WAKEFIELD — The West Side Social Club’s Fourth of July Committee — a dedicated band of volunteers who put on the town’s Fourth of July events — always has a theme for its various judged parades for youngsters.

For 2015, the theme is “Gold Star Family — We Honor your Fallen.”

As a way to give decorators an idea of this year’s children’s parades, including the bicycle and doll carriage parades, the Fourth of July Committee offers this on the history of the service flag:

The Service Flag, considered as an official banner by the Department of Defense, has a Red Border with a Blue Star in the center. It was handed out to families that had a son serving in the Armed Forces. It was designed by World War I Army Captain Robert L Queissner.

In 1918 President Wilson approved a request by the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense for mothers who had lost a child serving in the war to wear a gold gilt star on the traditional black mourning arm band. The tradition to cover the Blue Star on the Service Flag with a Gold Star soon followed representing that a family member had died while serving his country.

The Flag is an indoor flag and is flown facing out from the front window of a home or an organization. If a Gold Star is added to the Service Flag, it takes the position of honor and is placed over the Blue Star. The Gold Star is smaller than the Blue Star so that it will create a border of blue surrounding the Gold Star. If the U.S. Flag is displayed with the Service Flag, the U.S. Flag should be of equal or greater proportions and take honor above the Service Flag.

The color of the stars is symbolic. The Blue Star represents Hope and Pride.

The Gold Star represents sacrifice to the cause of Liberty and Freedom.

Published in the June 29, 2015 edition