Patriotism and a strong belief in service to country are some of the values that prompt so many Nebraskans to join the military. It's not easy to be a member of the military and it requires considerable sacrifice, not only from the service member, but also from his or her family.
I'm glad to say that we live in a time when most Americans support our troops and their families. We're proud of them and thank them for their service. Sadly, it hasn't always been that way.
I'm also pleased to see that U.S. Service Flags are making a comeback as a way of letting us know which families in our neighborhoods have someone in the service or, tragically, which families may have lost someone in the military.
The Service flag is an official banner authorized by the Department of Defense for display by families who have members serving in the Armed Forces. They may display it during any period of war or hostilities the United States may be engaged in for as long as the hostilities last.
According to Blue Star Mothers of America, the Service flag, also called the Blue Star Flag, was designed and patented by Army Captain Robert L. Queisser who had two sons serving on the front line during World War I. The flag quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in service.
Later, the tradition was broadened by covering the blue star with a gold star on the service flag to indicate that the service member had made the ultimate sacrifice.
Rarely seen since World War II, family members of United States Military members are beginning to display United States Service Flags again to honor family members who are members of the United States Military, during the War on Terrorism.
Because the rules state that the service flag should be displayed in the window of a residence has created an unintended problem in some housing areas which needs to be corrected. I am co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill to allow service flags to be displayed on personal residential properties where housing association rules exist that prohibit the display of banners of any kind in windows.
We are all grateful for the service of the brave men and women who defend our country. We appreciate the sacrifices they make to protect our freedom, and we appreciate the sacrifices their families make while their loved ones are put in harm's way far from home. Allowing military families to honor their service member with a U.S. service flag at their homes is the right thing to do. It respects their property rights, honors their right to freedom of expression, and lets all of us share in the pride of knowing one of our neighbors is bravely serving our country.