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Gold Star Memorial Highway


In 1965, state legislator George Carroll, from Alfred, drafted a bill dedicating the  Maine Turnpike as "The Gold Star Memorial Highway" to commemorate the valor and sacrifice of those who died in service Reed-signing-bill-(2).jpgto our country. The idea for the bill originated from a conversation Carroll had with several mothers who had lost their sons in World War II, a tragic consequence that made them American Gold Star Mothers. Rep. Carroll emerged from the meeting determined that their sacrifice for the nation would be remembered forever in Maine.  On May 18, 1965, the Maine legislature approved a Resolve, dedicating the Maine Turnpike as "The Gold Star Memorial Highway." It was then signed into law by Governor John H. Reed.

Resolution-Rededicating-Turnpike-Gold-Star-Memorial-Highway.jpgOn November 8, 2001, the Maine Turnpike was rededicated as "The Gold Star Memorial Highway" with a commemorative ceremony that George Carroll, then 80 years old, attended in full dress uniform. As part of the rededication, the Maine Turnpike Authority erected new Gold Star Memorial Highway signs, visible along the roadway today.  

         George Carroll and Gold Star Mothers with 

                                                                   MTA Board Members at rededication ceremony. 

Along with the honor of the Gold Star Memorial Highway designation comes the responsibility to remind people about its meaning.  So, if you are traveling on the Maine Turnpike and see the Gold Star Memorial Highway sign, please take a moment to remember the Maine heroes who gave their lives for our country. 

The significance of the Gold Star 

The significance of the Gold Star dates back to the end of World War I, when President Woodrow Wilson established it as a symbol of the respect and honor accorded to our fallen soldiers.  Instead of wearing conventional mourning dress for relatives who died in the goldstarpinnextofkinpin.jpgservice of the country, American women wore a black band with a Gold Star on the band for each member of the family who had given their life for the nation.  It was believed that the Gold Star would express more than just a sense of personal loss.  It would express the honor and glory accorded someone who had given his or her life for their country, as well as pride felt by his or her family for such a sacrifice.  The use of Gold Star banners became prevalent during World War II and the wars that followed. Today, the Gold Star continues to express both the great pride and the deep sorrow we feel at the loss of brave American servicemen and women during past and present conflicts.