World War II Blue Star Service Flag (Lawrence, MA)

This flag was a gift to the Library from Ana Santos, Director of Adult Services at the Library.  It was among possessions of the former owners of her home at 30 Canton Street.  They had a son, Joseph A. Swift, a PFC in the infantry from 1942 to the end of the war.  It was in a frame upon acceptance and was removed and slipped into a mylar sleeve.  One can imagine that this framed flag was on display in front of 30 Canton Street during the war.

This flag measures 31 x 20 cm.  It had originally been nailed into a frame.  The tacks were removed and the flag is now in a mylar sleeve.  The fabric appears to be silk with a white inner rectangle surrounded by a red border in four pieces.  It is machine stitched together and hemmed with red thread.  The five point blue star in the middle of the white rectangle is machine made and glued on.  There are some holes, foxing, and fading.

Joseph Swift was born and educated in Lawrence, Massachusetts, February 28, 1916.  He worked as a baker at Swift’s Bakery on South Broadway for his working life and served in the army during World War II as a baker.  He died October 8, 1989.

 A Service Flag in the United States is an official banner that family members of service members in harm’s way can display.  The flag or banner is defined as a white field with a red border, with a blue star for each family member in active duty. A gold star (with a blue edge) represents a family member that died during service, without specifying cause of death. The deceased might have been killed in action, or died due to unrelated causes.

One Response

  1. […] The library owns seventeen boxes of  5 x 10 inch index cards.  Each card contains an entry for individual servicemen and women who served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II.  As well as hand written name and address the card often contains newspaper clippings pasted on the card.  Colored tabs on individual cards designate deceased (black), female, (yellow), or disabled, wounded or MIA (green).     All the veterans contained in the boxes were Lawrence residents.  Just recently ( Oct. 4, 2010) with the help of volunteers, Joyce Bodenrader and Bill Wolfendale, there is now an index of these cards.   If you find a name of a relative contact the archivist ( for a copy of the card.  There is also a photograph of the construction of the memorial on the Common  dedicated to the veterans of the 2nd World War, Jean Kochman‘s USO scrapbooks, photographs in the Essick family papers, Alphonse Napolitano photos, photographs and scrapbooks from George Garside, and a blue star flag. […]

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