AUBURN — Fire Chief Frank Roma and the city of Auburn are seeking local families with loved ones serving overseas in the military.

They want to say thank you.

Roma is coordinating an effort to award Blue Star Flags to Auburn families to honor the men and women deployed in combat areas.

“I was involved with the Blue Star Flag program in another community where I was working, and I thought it was a great program,” Roma said. “I talked about it with the city manager and we thought it was a great thing for the city to get involved with.”

The Blue Star program began in Ohio during World War I, when it became the unofficial symbol of a family member in the armed forces. The service flags became much more popular during World War II, when the Department of War issued guidelines on their design and who was eligible to fly the flag.

The Department of Defense formally authorized the program in 1967.

The service flags are white with a red border and have a blue star in the center to signify each family member deployed.

A family member killed in action is honored with a gold star.

Blue Star Flag applications are available for download on the Auburn Fire Department’s website ( Roma is offering to help families fill out the form and answer questions about the criteria for eligibility.

Each flag will be presented during a City Council meeting.

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