Flag with gold stars?

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by Michael, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. Michael

    Michael Guest

    Hello, this is my first post and hopeing someone can help me. I was givin a flag that was placed on my Grandfathers, brothers casket who's plane was shot down on a bombing raid the day after D-day. The question I have is, the flags gold stars, what is the meaning? My first thought was it was stained, but at a closer look I found all the stars wher discolored. A friend of mine said its not discolored that they are gold stars and it had meaning but was not sure what it was. This question has bothered me for years and have yet to find an answer. Is it just stained or gold stars?
  2. Michael

    Michael Guest

    Don't know why I didnt think it before but woudnt the strips be discolored to if it was stained? They are still white so I guess im left with the question of the meaning of the gold stars. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  3. have you a picture or two of this flag??
    can u provide us with some on here? if ur not sure how to put pics on here email me some pics (click my name AMERICAN_FLAG_UK in the corner and go to email) so that i can take a look at this !
  4. z5w

    z5w New Member

    I also had a flag with gold stars that was our family flag when i was a child. It was my grandfather's who was a WWI vet. We used this flag to bury my father a WWII and Korean War vet. Some how it went missing in the family and I had one made special from a flag company to replace the original. This is the flag that will be used for my brother and I when we pass on. My grandfather believed that gold stars were used on battle flags. I don't know if this is true and have never heard or read anything to support this statement.
  5. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Gold stars were only used on silk military colors when they were hand painted. I have a 48 star flag where the stars have discolored from white to "gold" or rather "tan." The stripes are not discolored because they are different material, cotton bunting. The discolored stars had sizing to keep them stiff while sewing them into place and that chemical eventually caused the stars to turn tan or brown or "gold".
  6. buggra

    buggra New Member

    So the stars are not really gold, but faded white. Thanks for the info.
  7. MikeR

    MikeR New Member

    A lady described to me a flag presented to her Mother in honor of her Father's death on the Bataan Death March. The flag has 5 gold stars randomly spread among the other 43 white stars. In researching the meaning of the gold stars for her, I came across a blog that stated that many American flags, used for military funerals during WWII, were made in France. These flags were hand stitched and many included varying numbers of gold stars mixed with the white stars. One man stated that he had a flag with 38 gold stars and 10 white stars. With the situation as it was in the United States and Europe at the time, quality control was not a big issue. One explaination of the gold stars was perhaps the French workers were aware of the Gold Star Mother's flag and added the gold stars as a similiar honor. If anyone can verify, add to or deny this explaination, it would be appreciated.
  8. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Please see my answer from December 6 of last year toward the top of this page on the Forum. The 48 star flags were made by placing a sheet of white cotton "star" material on a table. Then the blue fabric of the canton was placed on top. Next were placed 48 sized cotton stars in the correct location in a pattern of six rows of 8 stars. These stars were lightly glued into place. Then the stars were sewn onto the front of the canton and the stitching also attached the white sheet onto the back of the canton. Finally, the white sheet was trimmed off the back, leaving 48 white stars showing where they were stitched into place along with the stars on the front side. The "gold" stars were just stars that were randomly placed on the front along with the rest of the 48 - they may have come from a different dye lot, were sized differently, or for unknown reasons just aged differently and turned tan or "gold" compared to other stars that did not age. According to this theory, all the stars on the other side should be similar in color to each other. Nick
  9. amvet gson

    amvet gson New Member

    my hometown legion has a goldstar american flag, and this is how it was explained to me....

    During WWII out of the many flag companies that spung up during that time, one had the idea that flags that were draped over fallen soldiers coffins were given flags with gold stars, in line with the gold stars that we shown in the windows of family that had lost someone during the war.

    According to the info that I have found, this was a very short lived practice, i haven't found anything confirming numbers, i was told that it could have been as few as a 150 gold-star flags were used for the fallen...again, that is just one set of numbers, it could have been more, but if that number is accurate, they are a very rare flag. As far as I can tell, the reason for such a short run was that someone in the gov't with clout decided that the flags weren't regulation, and couldn't be produced for any reason.

    The color make look "stained" or "tan" at a first glance, but they are gold stars on the flag, especially when compared to the stripes. I am currently trying to compile any information on the gold-star american flags, they are a very special piece of american history.
  10. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Dear amvet gson:
    Thank you for that note.:)

    I had never heard of that practice, but based on the info I have gathered from the WW II era, I think it was very unlikely that any US flagmaker would try this - the 48-star flag was held in great veneration and any form of alteration or desecration was seen as un-American and would dealt with promptly. :mad:

    If it was, indeed, an intentional practice would have have been very, very short lived.

    Based on my observations of some of the 65-year old flags in my collection, I stand by my theory that the "sized" cotton stars aged differently from the soft cotton or wool stripes. I even have one 48-star flag where the few "gold" stars discolored the cotton stripes to the exact same gold hue, and the stripes now have gold stars on them.:eek:

  11. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Amvet Gson,
    Would it be possible to upload a photo of your flag as it would help to evaluate it. Nick, I have a couple of old 48's that the stars have turned tan or gold too.
  12. keithlcms

    keithlcms New Member

    Let me add an item to this conversation. I am a member of the American Legion here in Greenfield, Iowa. Our post unfurls over 350 flags in our avenue of flags in our cemetery every Memorial Day. We have two gold star flags in our collection. While we were putting away the flags today, I specifically examined the two gold star flags. As did a few other people. I can tell you we all agreed the stars were not faded. And we looked at them closely. That they were indeed cut from material that was a dark gold in color. The World War II veterans in our post also affirm that they will unequivocally stand on the position that these flags were, in fact, presented to servicemen from our community who were killed in action during World War II. I admit this does not settle the matter. And I'm not certain it can be. However, I truly believe -- right or wrong -- that at least for some period of time, these flags were presented during the World War II years. The only other time I know the American flag carried gold stars was during the years of the American Civil War when the country was divided. I do know that was an act of Congress until the war was over and the stars returned to being white.
  13. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    That is very interesting as I have never heard of this Congressional Act. Where did you learn of this? Can you identify the law?

    I always assumed that stars on military standards / colors were gold because they had to be painted on the silk flags, and silver paint would just tarnish to black. As gold does not tarnish it maintains its strong contrast against the dark blue silk field.

  14. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Is there any way you post us a photograph of the flag with the gold stars? This would be an interesting story for Flag day, June 12.
  15. Josey

    Josey New Member

    I too have a U.S. 48 star casket flag with gold stars. The stars are all gold on one side and all white on the other. I obtained this flag along the veterans Purple Heart medal and the accompanying paperwork. He was KIA in Europe on D-Day +2

    Here is what I have been able to find out about these gold star flags:

    The U.S. contracted with european tailors and seamstresses to make the flags that they knew would be needed. It was wrongly assumed through bad or mis-communication that these flags would have gold stars on them because of thier knowledge of Gold Star Mothers.

    The U.S. caught the mistake early in production but opted to use the flags with the gold stars anyway because of the short supply.

    The gold star flags are found with the following variations. All gold stars on both sides.....alternating gold and white stars on both sides....all gold on one side and all white on the other (only 2 of this variation are known to exist).

    Since these flags are rare and carry some value it wouldn't surprise me that someone may fake one to sell to an unsuspecting buyer. The real gold star casket flags are easy to identify by the fact that the stitching around the stars are white and the material will not glow under a black light.
  16. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member


    I've always assumed the American Flags with Gold Stars in the Union were a variation specifically made for "presentation" or "ceremonial" purposes. My main thought along those lines was that the "presentation" Gold Star Flags were given (presented) to "Gold Star Mothers".

    I do not have any "proof" of any of this, mind you, but it has always made a certain amount of sense to me. Both for the "Gold Star" connection and that the Gold Star Flags were "special" and not meant for ordinary, every day Flag flying (if you know what I mean!).

    Thank you for ALL of the additional information! Keep up the good work !!! :D

    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
  17. Josey

    Josey New Member

    What you write makes sense, but think about this. If these flags were made to be presented to the "Gold Star Mothers" I would think that there would be a bunch of these flags and there are not.

    Also, the gold star flags are not uniform in thier manufacture like you would think they should be if made in the U.S. for such a special presentation.

    Now, with all that being said, am I 100% positve of my findings? No. This is one these situations where more research needs to be done before any real definitive answers can be given.

    I would be interested in knowing how many members here own one of these gold star flags though.

  18. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member


    Hi, Josey! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums !!! :D

    I know VERY little about "Gold Star" Flags, their origins, purposes, numbers, manufacture, etc. Heck! I've never even seen one! I think NOW that perhaps I should have said something in my first post about my relative ignorance regarding them. :eek:

    Thank You for bringing some additional information about the "Gold Star" Flags to our Forum here.

    As has been pointed out in various other threads scattered about the various forums here, people, communities, companies, etc, sometimes have a tendency to "personalize" or "customize" their Flags, especially on important or significant occassions. I wouldn't be at all surprised if at least some of the "Gold Star" Flags became that way because of that. But then, I don't know all that much about them.

    Anyway, THANX for the "Gold Star" enlightenment !!! :D

    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
  19. Josey

    Josey New Member

    Thank you!

    I will try and make some time this weekend to photograph my flag and post some pics here with a good close up of the stars.

  20. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hi, Josey ! :D

    QUOTE : "I will try and make some time this weekend to photograph my flag and post some pics here with a good close up of the stars."

    EXCELLENT !!! :D :D :D

    I look forward to seeing them !!!

    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA

Share This Page