Obv: Ocean liner with a radiant gold star above and the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower to left and right. The date is below the ship. Rev: Inscription GOLD STAR / PILGRIMAGE/ TO THE / BATTLEFIELDS / OF / THE WORLD WAR above the logo of the United States Lines amid a field of ivy leaves, signed TIFFANY & CO. Edge: BRONZE, a script "m", and the number 5445. Suspended from red, white and blue ribbon.
In March 1929, 11 years after World War I, the United States Congress passed a law authorizing the use of government funds to pay all expenses for mothers and widows of fallen veterans to visit their loved ones buried on the battlefields of Europe.Between 1930 and 1933, some 6,693 Gold Star mothers and war widows made the pilgrimage abroad.
This medal was presented by the United States Steamship Lines to the women when they boarded their ships to Europe -- interestingly the relatives of Caucasian soldiers on luxury liners, and the relatives of African-American soldiers on commercial steamers. Apparently a database of Gold Star mothers and widows is available, perhaps allowing the recipient of this medal to be identified.
A rare reminder of a nearly forgotten program.No nation before or since has ever so honored the women whose sons and husbands gave their lives in the service of their country.