The Silver Star Medal originated as the “Citation Star,” an Army decoration established on July 9, 1918. The Citation Star was a small (3/16” diameter) silver star that could be worn on the ribbon of any Army campaign decoration.
The decoration was replaced in 1932 with the Silver Star Medal, which was designed with a gilt bronze finish, with the original silver Citation Star placed in the middle of a new, larger star. The larger star represents military service, and the laurel wreath encircling its center signifies achievement.
The ribbon is based on the colors of the American flag, with a center stripe of red flanked by stripes of white, which are flanked by blue bands with borders of white edged in blue.