Sen. Webb Introduces Bill to Protect Rights of Military Families to Fly Service Flags

Senator Jim Webb introduced the Blue Star/Gold Star Flag Act of 2010 to ensure the continued freedom of military families to honor our men and women in uniform. The Blue and Gold Star flag, also known as the Service flag, is authorized by the Department of Defense (DOD) for immediate family members of individuals serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during a period of war or hostilities. Each blue star on the flag represents a family member currently serving, and each gold star represents a family member who lost his or her life in combat. Senator Webb’s bill would prohibit any condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association from preventing a resident from displaying the Service flag on personal residential property.

Webb, a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee.

“This legislation creates reasonable legal protections to ensure military families can honor their loved ones’ service no matter where they live,” said Senator Webb. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join me in demonstrating our continued commitment to our men and women in uniform and their families.”

Last year, Marlene Gano was asked by her condominium association to remove the Service flag she placed in her window in honor of her son who served in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and again in 2003 for his year-long service in Iraq, where he suffered injuries twice from roadside bombs. While the board of the condominium association later made an exception for Ms. Gano's Blue Star Flag, this case and others like it demonstrate the need for the legal protections Senator Webb’s legislation would provide.

In December 2009, Senator Webb similarly called for a homeowners association in Henrico County to allow a decorated combat veteran, Colonel Van Barfoot, to install a flagpole in the yard of his home for purposes of displaying the American flag.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) have endorsed Senator Webb’s legislation.

“We thank Senator Webb for pushing this important legislation which protects the families of deployed service members and those who gave their lives for America.,” said Tom Tarantino, Legislative Associate at the IAVA. “These families have earned the right to honor the service and sacrifice of their loved ones.”


  1. Really? Who cares….

    • Right Winger says:

      Obviously people who are connected with the military care. Sen. Webb is ensuring that they be allowed to fly the Service Flags, regardless of some arcane HOA rule or covenant restricting them. Maybe if you re-read the article, you’d understand and possibly care.

    • Robert Ferrebee says:

      Did you know that displaying Blue Star Service Banners in the windows of homes is a long-standing American tradition? The banner lets others know that someone in the home is proudly serving in the U. S. Armed Forces. These flags were first used in World War I with subsequent standardization during World War II. The Blue Star Service Banner tradition reminds us all that war touches every neighborhood in our land.

      The stars are placed on a white background with a red border. If a family has more than one person in the armed service, the stars are put one below the next on the banner. When a soldier dies in action the blue star is replaced with a gold star.

      These are small flags that are placed in a window of the home. They certainly do not deface or blight a neighborhood. If you grew up during World War II, they were in the windows of almost every house. It is a big deal!

    • Tony Parrott says:

      Who cares? As a proud former member of the United States Navy, I care! I care about all the current and former service men and women who served to protect the rights of people like you; who don’t care.

      What people should be asking is what is our country coming to when we need a law to allow one to fly “Old Glory” or honor a serving family member?

    • Dave Zuleger says:

      MR…You’ve got to kidding me!!! Men and Women in the Armed Services have been protecting this County since it’s creation and you say “Really? Who cares…”? Freedom isn’t free and these Men and Women pay the price for it every day! They pay the price for every American and ask for very little in return. The least we can do as Citizens and as a Nation…is to care! I care and my family cares. If you have so little appreciation for the armed services and their sacrifices, perhaps you should relocate a country where the Flag is five gold stars on a red background. My guess is you would decline, freedom of choice, protected by the Constitution, which the Armed Services has sworn to “defend and protect”.

      Dave Zuleger
      U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division (Infantry)

  2. Our Senator, hard at work….

  3. Mayor Quinsby says:

    I could care less. I did my time in the military. My family never cared. If someone is proud of their son or daughter serving….let’em brag with a flag! Everybody else seems to float their own boat. I bet you can’t find one fireman that doesn’t have a license plate on his or her car stating exactly that.

  4. MR,

    “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

    – John Stuart Mill

  5. Mayor Quinsby says:

    Sorry, I don’t quote British philosophers. I think on my own, and have the right to what ever opinion I want. You may want to research Mr. Mill’s “harm principle”.

  6. Great, I have had a 1 star in my window for 6 years then added a second star 2 years ago, now I am back to 1 star and having two of my three kids go through the miltary was an honor. No one will make me take it down!