The Gold Star Lapel Button was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 80–306) August 1, 1947, in order to provide an appropriate identification for widows, widowers, parents, and next of kin of members of the Armed Forces of the United States who lost their lives during World War I, 6 April 1917 to 3 March 1921; World War II, 8 September 1939 to 25 July 1947; any subsequent period of armed hostilities in which the United States was engaged before 1 July 1958 (United Nations action in Korea, 27 June 50 to 27 July 54); or who lost their lives after 30 June 1958, while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict in which the United States is not a belligerent party against an opposing Armed Force; or who lost or lose their lives after March 28, 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of Defense; or while serving in a military operation while serving outside the United States (including the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States) as part of a peacekeeping force.
a. The Gold Star Lapel Button consists of a gold star on a purple circular background, bordered in gold and surrounded by gold laurel leaves. On the reverse is the inscription "United States of America, Act of Congress, August 1966". Gold Star Lapel Buttons inscribed August 1947 may be issued until present inventories are exhausted.
b. One Gold Star Lapel Button will be furnished without cost to the widow or widower, to each of the parents, each child, stepchild, child through adoption, brother, half brother, sister, and half-sister of a member of the Armed Forces who lost his or her life while in the active military service during the periods indicated above. The term "widow or widower" includes those who have since remarried, and the term "parents" includes mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, mother through adoption, father through adoption, and foster parents who stood in loco parentis. Request for replacement of the Gold Star Lapel Button (lost, destroyed or unserviceable) will be submitted on DD Form 3 (Application for Gold Star Lapel Button) to National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St Louis, MO 63138-1002.
NOTE: Per AR 600-8-22, Military Awards, paragraph 6-18, the Gold Star Lapel Button was established by Act of Congress (PL 80-306) 1 August 1947, in order to provide an appropriate identification for widows, widowers, parents, and next of kin of Service members of the Armed Forces of the U.S. who lost their lives. Previously, there were two versions of the Gold Star award issued - one with a pin catch and the other with prong-clutch or screw post. Wholesale assets of the pin catch version have been phased-out and are no longer available. The prong-clutch version will be the only Gold Star award issued with any request.