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May 26, 2011
New plates, which honor fallen heroes & their families,to be available after July 4
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson looked on todayas Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation that will allow thesale of Gold Star license plates to the families of military personnel killed while serving on active duty.
―I don’t know if any of us can understand the lossand sacrifice of these Gold Star families,‖ said Johnson,who also attended the Michigan Senate’s solemn, annualMemorial Day service Thursday. ―It is our hope theselicense plates, in some small way, will help them honor their loved ones.‖
The new plates will be released just after the July4 holiday – a fitting time for their release, said Johnson.Thursday’s bill
signing ceremony was attended by manyGold Star families including Valerie May, of Midland,whose son, Cpl. Rollie M. Northhouse, was killed in Vi-etnam in 1968.
May said she would be purchasing a Gold Star plate to honor her son and was pleased the license plate,discussed for so many years, had finally come to pass.―I’m so excited, I may be in line July 3
!‖ May said.
Johnson had been a strong proponent of the GoldStar plate legislation, sponsored by Sen. JohnPappageorge (R
Troy) and Rep. Robert Genetski(R
Pappageorge, a highly decorated veteran whoretired with the rank of colonel, served 30 years activeduty in the U.S. Army, including two tours in Vietnam.
―The family and friends of our fallen heroes arethe ones who have toface each day without their loved one,‖ said Pappageorge.―This plate serves as a symbol of the sacrifice they havemade and reminds us all that freedom is not free.‖
Genetski said: ―I am thankful that our Gold Star families, just in time for Memorial Day, will know thatMichigan is ready to recognize their great sacrifice.‖
The use of gold stars to denote families who havelost sons and daughters in military service dates back toWorld War II. Families hung flags in their windows, witheach blue star denoting a family member serving in themilitary and each gold star denoting a family member who had died.
Johnson also announced this week another newoption for veterans who want to show their service totheir country in a more meaningful way. Beginning theTuesday after Memorial Day, veterans will be able to purchase automobile plates that feature the actual insig-nia, in color, of their military service branch. Those plateswill feature the official seals of the Air Force, Army,Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and National Guard – instead of just the printed name of the military personnel.
―This is one more small thing we can do to honor veterans who have worked so hard, endured so much andsacrificed for their country,‖ Johnson said. ―We are verygrateful to all our military members.‖
Legislation that would allow the Secretary of State’s Office, for the very first time, to offer service branch motorcycle plates for veterans is being consideredin the Legislature and is supported by Johnson. She saidshe is hopeful that legislation will pass so motorcycleriders will be able to enjoy the plates whileriding this summer.
Michigan offers veterans more than 20distinct plates that highlight their service in themilitary, and in individual wars and conflictssuch as World War II, the Vietnam War andthe Somalia conflict. The department also al-lows people to personalize their veteran plates.
More than 75,000 veteran plates are incirculation.Honorably discharged veterans are eligible for plates signifying the branch of service, or war or conflict in which the veteran served.
duty personnel and spouses are eligible for plates signifying service in a war or conflict.
Johnson Attends BillSigning for Gold StarLicense Plate Legislation