The Meaning Behind License Plates with a Gold Star


Although license plates with different emblems and patterns are common, have you ever seen one with a gold star on it? It has great meaning rather than being only ornamentation.

A Sign of Giving Up Something
A Gold Star on a license plate indicates that a family member of the motorist has given his last sacrifice in line of military service. It serves as a sobering reminder of the commitment and morality of the departed military man. How then did this custom develop?

The Story of the Gold Star
World War I Army Captain Robert L. Queisser of the Ohio 5th Infantry started the Blue Star program in 1917, which helped to shape the Gold Star program. While his two boys were on the front lines, Captain Queisser wanted to find a way to commemorate their dedication as well as that of all service personnel.

With each blue star in the middle signifying a military man, he created the "Blue Star Service Banner," a classic banner with a white backdrop, a red border. Proudly hanging this flag in his window, Captain Queisser set the example for others. Military families all throughout Ohio were shortly hanging identical banners in their homes, churches, businesses, and educational facilities.
Ohio publicly honored the Blue Star Service Banner in the Ohio Congressional Record by September 1917. The flag came to represent support for military people and their families.

The Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense put forth a fresh approach to pay tribute to departed military personnel. Mothers, especially, should wear a black armband with a gold star for every lost loved one, they said. May 28 saw President Woodrow Wilson approve their idea.

The Establishing of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.