New license plate honors fallen U.S. military personnel

Michigan has begun offering special Gold Star license plates to families who wish to honor loved ones who have died while on active duty in the U.S. military.

State Sen. John Pappageorge (R-Troy) and state Rep. Robert Genetski (R-Saugatuck) pressed for legislation supporting the Gold Star license plates that Gov. Rick Snyder signed Thursday. That means the special plates can be bought at Department of State offices anytime after the July 4 holiday.

“The family and friends of our fallen heroes are the ones who have to face each day without their loved one,” said Pappageorge, a retired Army colonel who served two tours in Vietnam and was in the military for 30 years.

“This plate serves as a symbol of the sacrifice they have made and reminds us all that freedom is not free.”

Using gold stars to acknowledge families who have lost loved ones in military service harkens to World War I. Flags hanging in windows with a blue star denote a family member serving in the military; a gold star means a family member was killed in action.

“On Memorial Day, we pay tribute to the brave men and women of America’s armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our country and protecting our freedom,” said Ruth Johnson, Michigan's secretary of state. “In honor of veterans and their families across our state, I’m proud to offer them these new plates so they may show their service and sacrifice.

For information about these special Gold Star plates, contact the Department of State Information Center at 1-888-767-6424.

You can reach's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected]

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