East Middlebury flag flies for veterans

EAST MIDDLEBURY — In honor of Veterans Day, an East Middlebury Veterans flag was displayed on the front of the Sarah Partridge Community House on East Main Street. The flag was hung by Henry Haskell and Toby and Renita Welch.
The original East Middlebury Veterans Flag dates from World War II. A blue star represents each soldier who enlisted from an East Middlebury address. On patriotic occasions, the flag was hung over (East) Main Street along with the American Flag. The last time the original flag was flown was on the 50th anniversary of VE Day.
The flag’s design is based on the “Blue Star” or “service” flag that originated during World War I and was popular again during World War II. Each household that had a member or members in the armed services would hang a small flag in a window facing the street. The small flag had a blue star on it for each household member serving his or her country. In the event of the death of a soldier, the blue star would be replaced by a gold star. That is the origin of the term “Gold Star Mother.” The VFW actively promoted this concept.
The East Middlebury Veterans Flag was made as a large scale replica of one of these household flags, with stars representing each person in the community who had gone to war. Each time a person left, another star would be added by one of the ladies of the community. The flag was a work in progress, which explains the uneven spacing of the stars.
The original flag became fragile as time passed. It is now in the care of the Sheldon Museum in Middlebury. A replica of this flag was made in 2001 and is hung to celebrate East Middlebury community history, gratitude and pride.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by Peggy Peabody.

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