HONOLULU -- A bill was introduced this session to create Gold Star family plates for families who have lost loved ones in combat.

Rep. K. Mark Takai said he was pleased that Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the bill into law at a ceremony in the governor’s executive chambers, May 31.

The bill creates the Gold Star Family license plate for the children, spouses, parents, grandparents and siblings of fallen Soldiers. Currently, 47 states and Guam have Gold Star plates.

“The Gold Star not only represents the selfless sacrifice made by the deceased, but was intended to give their family a measure of pride and consolation,” Takai said. “The very essence of our freedom to live in a free society is the direct result of the bravery by those whose heroic acts and deeds this license plate honors.”

Five Gold Star families were invited to witness the signing of this important legislation.

“As a Gold Star father, it is extremely important that we honor our fallen heroes in ways that will remind the American people of the sacrifices our military and their family members are making everyday, to protect the freedoms we take for granted,” said retired Col. David Brostrom.

Brostrom and his wife, Mary Jo, lost their son, 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, who died of wounds sustained when his outpost was attacked with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from enemy forces in Wanat, Afghanistan, in 2008.

Allen Hoe, combat-wounded Vietnam veteran, became a Gold Star father six years ago, when his oldest son, 1st Lt. Nainoa Hoe, lost his life on the battlefield in Mosul, Iraq.

“He fully understood the risks; yet, he chose to lead warriors in combat,” Hoe said, “simply because his country had asked him to do so.”

According to Takai, Hawaii has several military-related and veteran-related license plates, but no plate had recognized the sacrifice of Hawaii’s Gold Star families.

“The visibility of these special plates on vehicles across the state will help remind us all that many of Hawaii’s sons and daughters have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Takai added.

The star tradition began during World War I, when white service flags were displayed from homes, business, schools and churches.

Military families are considered “Blue Star” if they have family members in the U.S. armed forces. They are considered “Gold Star” if family members died in service.

The proposed design for the license plate includes the symbol of the Gold Star pin to the left of the license plate numbers, with the words “Gold Star” and “Family,” respectively, above and below the symbol, in purple.

“Families appreciate another opportunity to honor their loved ones,” Takai said.

According to the legislation, Gold Star families will be able to begin receiving their new plates no later than Oct. 1, 2011.

Page last updated Mon June 13th, 2011 at 00:00