Boston does a great job marking war heroes and local luminaries on hundreds of street corners with these embossed black and gold signs, like this one in the West End. Max Hirshovitz was a corporal who was killed during World War I.

For all I know, that gold star is also significant. Can anyone link me to the story behind these signs? I am aware that they symbolize the Medal of Honor, but I don’t know if they are design element that appears on all these signs.

Gold stars are also awarded to soldiers killed in combat (see Comments)


Categorized in: One Shots Out of Town Signs Tagged with:

12 Responses to SQUARES OF BOSTON

  1. jack norman says:

    GOLD STAR……Means the person got the Medal of Honor during the war…..as you go thru the American Military Cemeteries in France(both WW-1 & WW2)you note that the makers have a Gold Star that means that person got the Medal of Honor…….

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      Yes. But, I’m unsure if this is a design element on those signs (that they all have) or not.

      • Larry Mac says:

        The Gold Star means that Cpl. Hirshovitz was killed in action in defense of his country. Max is not on the roster of WWI MOH recipients.

      • jack norman says:

        KEVIN There is a Medal of Honor webb sight…….its either he won the mdeal or its just a item that leads you to the sign…..

  2. Jboy122 says:

    I think the gold star on the sign has a specific Massachusetts symbolism in this case — referring to a list of the dead from WWI. Here’s the intro from the “Report of the Commission on Massachusetts’ Part in the World War” which is available on archive.org. I think the gold star are on any signs where the honoree died in WWI.


    An Act relative to the Compilation of a Record of the Massachusetts Men who died in the Military
    OR Naval Service during the World War.

    “The special commission to provide for the preparation of a suitable history of Massachusetts’ part in the World War, established under authority of chapter four hundred and eight of the acts of nineteen hundred and twenty-three, is hereby directed to compile an appropriate record of Massachusetts men who died during the World War while in the militar.y or naval service of the United States of America or of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or in the military or naval forces of any foreign power associated with the United States of America in the World War. Said Record shall be known as The Gold Star Record of Massachusetts in the World War. It shall be in sufficient detail to establish the identity of each such deceased soldier, sailor or marine, and to enable a reasonable estimate to be made of the service rendered by him to the Commonwealth, and shall set forth among other things his service record, residence, birthplace, age of entry into service and his nearest relatives. The manuscript for said report shall be completed on or before July 1, W26.” (Chapter 367, Section 1, Acts 192-t.)

  3. Rick Stricker says:

    The Gold Star refers to someone who died in war, not a reference to the Medal of Honor. Corporal Max Hirshovitz was killed in action on July 23, 1918, in Trugny Wood. He was not a MoH recipient.

  4. Dave Steckler says:

    Weren’t gold stars put on flags to commemorate someone killed while on active duty?

  5. Ann McGuire says:

    The Gold star also signifies that the person lost their life in combat. The service flags that military families hang in their windows have a star for each member of the family serving. If a star is gold, it means a person has died in defense of the country. Gold Star Mothers was formed after the war as an organization for grieving mothers. From Wikipedia: On May 28, 1918, President Wilson approved a suggestion made by the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defenses that, instead of wearing conventional mourning for relatives who have died in the service of their country, American women should wear a black band on the left arm with a gilt star on the band for each member of the family who has given his life for the nation.

  6. Bob says:

    There is no Max Hirshovitz on the WIKIPEDIA list of medal of Honor winners in WW1.

  7. Edward Findlay says:

    It appears that he wasn’t awarded the Medal of Honor and I have seen dozens of them honoring people so to me the star means that he was killed in action as opposed to died of wounds or was someone of great significance to the neighborhood.

    By the way, more than likely that is a survivor of his lost neighborhood- the West End. It’s definately not on a North End street corner with “Suffolk University” on the side of a building.

  8. Frankie says:

    I just took a short tour via Google’s street view (that little man you drag around) and most of these signs are on it’s own post and not associated with any street signs. Another interesting feature is that most of them have small wreaths hanging just below the sign.

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