To the Editor:
For nearly a century, the parents of American soldiers have displayed a banner containing a gold star in a window of their home as a symbol of loss when a son or daughter was killed in combat.
With our nation at war once again, the gold star remains a powerful reminder that for every soldier that falls on a battlefield thousands of miles away, there is a family that suffers and feels that loss right here at home.
Many of those families want nothing more than for others to recognize that soldiers, including their loved ones, continue to make the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation.
While those families have given so much for all of us, what they ask in return is a mere pittance. Groups representing those families, including New Jersey’s Gold Star Mothers, have asked legislators to authorize the issuance of special gold star license plates to the parents of military personnel killed while on active duty.
The lawmakers of 47 states have reasonably responded to this very simple request of grieving families by authorizing the gold star plates. However, New Jersey is not among them yet.
Working with local gold star families, I first introduced legislation in 2008 that would authorize Gold Star Family license plates here in New Jersey.
I believe that the time has come for this legislation to move forward and Gold Star Families to receive the recognition that their loved one earned. This legislation is expected to be voted out of the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee on November 15. The Assembly version of this bill, A-2709, still has to be considered by the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Once the legislation is voted out of each Committee, it will then need to be voted on by both houses of the legislature.
Governor Christie has indicated his support for this legislation and desire to sign the legislation before the end of the year. I urge the legislative leadership in Trenton to prioritize the passage of this legislation so that families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice may be justly recognized.
Sean T. Kean
Senator – District 11