World War I changed daily life in West Boylston. Patriotism resonated throughout the town. On November 11, 1917, exactly one year before the Armistice and the end of WWI, the citizens of West Boylston raised a service flag on the common in honor of all those serving overseas. Service flags are still flown today to indicate if a household has a family member serving in the military during a time of war, and they were first created and popularized during WWI. The town’s service flag had sixteen stars, but we aren’t sure why only sixteen. Though more than sixteen men from town enlisted in April 1917, it’s possible only sixteen were sent to Europe.
As the newspaper clipping below indicates, families with relatives serving in the military were asked to get a service flag for their home by the State. Also featured is a service flag from the Treasury Department advertising the Victory Liberty Loan, a war bond to support the war effort and its aftermath. A letter from the Treasury Department appears alongside the flag. The flag was sent to the Beaman Memorial Public Library for preservation and to “help to perpetuate interest in the Liberty Loan work in your community.”