Gold Star license plates available July 1 Parents of South Dakota military servicemen and women who died while in service to their country have a new opportunity to acknowledge their children's sacrifice by displaying Gold Star Parent license plates on their vehicles. The license plates, which were authorized by the 2009 South Dakota Legislature, will become available through county treasurers' offices on July 1. The plate features the same deep blue background as South Dakota's special veterans' license plates along with a gold star on a navy blue circle surrounded by a blue and gold wreath and the words "Gold Star Family" on the bottom of the plate. Debra Hillmer, director of motor vehicles for the state Department of Revenue & Regulation, says the new license plates are a unique way for South Dakota vehicle owners to honor the sons and daughters they have lost to war. "A parent who loses a child never forgets that child, regardless of how they died or at what age. Military parents take a special pride in their children's commitment to service, a pride that does not end when that child is lost in service to their country, no matter how long ago it may be. We hope these new plates are a fitting remembrance of those lost family members," Hillmer said. Adjutant General Major General Steven R. Doohen of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs echoed Hillmer's sentiments. "These parents instilled in their children an unending commitment to their country and for that we owe them our gratitude. The Gold Star license plates provide yet another opportunity for us to recognize these parents and to thank them for the sacrifice they have endured," Doohen said. Individuals wanting to display the Gold Star Parents license plates must complete the Division of Motor Vehicles' "South Dakota Special License Plate Application" (MV-101) and submit for verification purposes a copy of the Department of Defense Report of Casualty (DD Form 1300) or death notice, or verification from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that the service member's death was service-related. Those receiving the special plates will initially pay the registration fee, plus a $10.00 special license plate fee and will then annually pay only the registration fee. A maximum of two sets of the special license plates may be issued per applicant. For more information on the Gold Star Parent license plates, contact the South Dakota Division of Motor Vehicles at (605) 773-3541 or visit their Web site at www.state.sd.us/drr2/motorvehicle.
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