After last Sept. 11, hundreds of thousands of Americans found ways to show their patriotism, mostly by putting up flags at their homes and businesses or finding other creative ways to use red, white and blue in public displays of support for the men and women in the U.S. armed forces.
Many Americans are old enough to remember World War II, when service flags were proudly displayed in the windows of families who had members in the service. The number of stars on the special banners showed how many family members were in the war effort. And the color of the stars indicated whether or not someone had been killed in action.
These service banners have cropped up in recent movies with war themes, once again reminding us of this special way to honor those in the military.
Now a St. Louis company has obtained the Pentagon's endorsement to begin producing service flags for the men and women currently engaged in the war on terrorism. American Legion Post 63 in Cape Girardeau will process orders for the banners.
This is a special tribute for both those who serve and for their families who endure the agony of separation and possible loss. And it is a reminder to the rest of us that we have an opportunity to honor those whose lives are at risk.