Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Minnesota to offer Gold Star license plates

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune 22Sep09

On Oct. 1, Minnesota will join the ranks of nearly every other state in offering license plates that honor members of the military killed in the line of duty.

The "Gold Star Family" plates will be available free of charge to any surviving spouse or parent of a soldier who has died.

The plates were to be unveiled today at the state Capitol rotunda by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, First Lady Mary Pawlenty, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Larry Shellito and family members of fallen soldiers.

The plates were authorized by the legislature earlier this year in a law that called for them to be issued beginning Oct. 1.

Forty states already issue the commemorative plates and Minnesota is among seven where legislation has authorized them, but they haven't yet been issued.

The Gold Star families organization dates to World War I as a way to honor service members killed during that war. Subsequently, in 1928, a group of twenty-five mothers living in Washington, DC, created a national non-profit organization they called the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.

The organization was named after the gold star families hung in their windows in honor of the deceased veteran. According to the group's history, "we stand tall and proud by honoring our children, assisting our veterans, supporting our nation, and healing with each other."

The cost of producing the plates will be paid for out of the "Support Our Troops" license plate account, which is funded by a $30 annual contribution that vehicle owners pay to display that slogan on their plates.