NSSAR Insignia and Guidelines for Wear

SAR Insignia

National Society, Sons of the American Revolution INSIGNIA

SAR Membership Badge Description (pictured above):

The SAR Membership Badge is a Maltese cross of four arms and eight points, with a golden ball at each point, enameled in white and a medallion in the center bearing a profiled bust of General George Washington.  Surrounding the bust is a blue enameled ribbon containing the SAR Motto – “Libertas et Patria.” A laurel wreath encircles the medallion, midway between it and the points of the cross. The reverse is the same, except that the center medallion bears the figure of a minuteman surrounded by a blue enameled ribbon, inscribed in golden letters, “Sons of the American Revolution.” The cross is surmounted by a golden eagle and suspended from a ribbon of the Society’s colors – blue, buff yellow and white.

History: The design of this badge was approved in December 1889 and is based on the badges of the Military Order of Saint Louis, founded by King Louis XIV in 1693 to honor faithful military service, and the Legion of Honor, founded by Napoleon in 1803 to reward civil and military service.

The SAR Badge is available in both full and miniature sizes.

Guidelines for Wear:

Compatriots are encouraged to purchase and wear the SAR Badge. A Compatriot should only wear the SAR Badge at functions of the National Society, State Society or Chapter or when representing the SAR. It may also be worn during the funeral of an SAR member or at the dedication of a grave marker for a deceased SAR member. The following guidelines are provided for wearing the SAR Badge:

  1. Compatriots will wear the full-size SAR Badge from a chest ribbon of the SAR colors (a deep blue center flanked by buff (yellow) and white stripes when wearing a coat and tie. The SAR Badge, when suspended from the chest ribbon, is worn on the left breast of the suit coat or blazer with the top of the ribbon clasp four inches below the midpoint of the shoulder seam of the coat.
  1. When worn from the chest ribbon, Supplemental Stars (described below) are the only authorized insignia to be worn on the chest ribbon.
  1. Compatriots will wear the miniature size SAR Badge from a chest ribbon when in full-dress (white tie and tails) or when wearing a tuxedo or dinner jacket.
  1. Current or former General Officers, Vice Presidents General, National Trustees, State Society Presidents and Chapter Presidents may wear the SAR Badge suspended from the SAR Neck Ribbon (described below).
  1. Current or former General Officers or State Society Presidents may insert a diamond in the space between the eagle’s talons and the upper arm of the Maltese cross.
  1. In full-dress or formal attire, it is not proper to wear the SAR Badge suspended from both SAR Neck Ribbon and the chest ribbon.

Supplemental Star

The supplemental star is gold in color five-pointed star, one-quarter inch or one-half inch in diameter, used to denote additional or supplemental Revolutionary War ancestors that have been approved by the National Society. Supplemental stars may be displayed on the SAR chest or neck ribbon. Placement of a star on the neck ribbon should alternate back and forth on the arms of the neck ribbon starting on the wearer’s left and above any emblems the wearer is authorized to display.

A larger supplemental star is available to denote five approved supplemental ancestors. This star is gold in color, one-half inch in diameter, with a flat area with the numeral 5 and may be worn in lieu of five regular supplemental stars.

SAR Rosette

The rosette is a small tightly folded circle of ribbon of the Society’s colors not exceeding 7/16th of an inch in diameter. It may be worn by all members, at their discretion, on the left lapel of the jacket, daily if desired, during business or social hours. It is only worn on a coat lapel, or shirt collar, but not on an overcoat. A rosette is commonly presented to a new member at the time of his induction into the society. Except in France, the rosette is informal and therefore is not appropriate for formal wear. A fraternal or other organization badge may be worn with the rosette, but this is strongly discouraged. In any event, only one rosette should be worn on a suit or sport coat. The rosette should never be worn when wearing the SAR Badge (neck or chest ribbon).


The prestige and influence of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution depend largely upon the loyalty of its members. It is important that every member should use the emblems and insignia of the Society in an appropriate manner on all suitable occasions. All Compatriots are encouraged to purchase and possess the Society’s insignia. It is recommended that on all public patriotic occasions, Compatriots of the Sons of the American Revolution be properly recognized as representatives of our Patriot ancestors. This code has been prepared in order that members of the Society may bring credit to the organization by the proper use of the insignia and because usage may vary from one patriotic society to another and from one country to another.

The following rules apply to the wearing of all NSSAR medals and insignia. While every member is responsible to wear medals and insignia correctly, it is also the responsibility of all National Society, state society and chapter officers to assure that their members wear all medals and insignia correctly.

The NSSAR insignia and decorations worn vary with the type of dress. The term “full dress” includes both the tailcoat and white tie in the evening and the cutaway with ascot or four-in-hand for day wear. “Formal attire” or “black tie” includes the black (tuxedo) or white dinner jacket with appropriate accessories. Informal dress includes the business suit, the blazer jacket, and the sport coat. Insignia are not worn on the overcoat. The rosette, the tie, and/or the blazer patch may be worn with informal dress. The rosette and tie may be worn with the business suit or sports coat. The blazer patch is only worn on a blazer. On informal occasions when business suits or blazers are worn, Society officers may wish to wear neck ribbons to indicate past or present office. Other decorations should be avoided on such informal occasions, although SAR custom has been to wear full size medals with business suits and blazers at SAR meetings. At SAR formal occasions, such as annual meetings, Leadership Meetings, balls, etc., the invitation and/or program will specify the dress, i.e., “full dress,” “black tie,” or “black tie or white tie.” In the latter case, when either is acceptable, officers especially are encouraged to wear white tie dress. In addition, the invitation may specify “with decorations,” or “with miniature medals,” and members may wear the insignia, including the broad sash and miniature medals. The rosette is not worn with formal dress. Custom suggests that a white dinner jacket may be worn between Memorial Day and Labor Day (in most parts of the U.S.).

SAR Badge & Full Size Medals

Other full size medals may be worn with the SAR Badge, either pinned separately or mounted on a bar so that the medals are three and one-eighths inches in length and the bottoms are in a horizontal line. Full size medals suspended from a chest ribbon are not worn at the same time miniature medals are worn. Miniature medals are appropriate for full dress or formal attire and full-size medals should be avoided in this situation (unless absolutely necessary). Full size medals can also be worn on a bar and overlapped no more than fifty percent, as covered under miniature medals.

Miniature Medals

The miniature medal is formal and is worn on the left breast of the coat four inches below the midpoint of the shoulder seam. A small number of miniatures may be pinned side by side but, as the number increases, they should be attached to a bar for neatness and convenience and mounted so the miniature is two and one-quarter inches in length and the bottoms of the ribbons are in a horizontal line. The usual bar is that used by the armed forces in the standard lengths of one and three-eighths inches, two and three-quarter inches, four and one-eighth inches, furnished with clutch fasteners. The miniatures should be mounted by gluing and sewing and must cover the bar completely. When the number more than fills the holding bar, the ribbons may be overlapped not more than fifty percent and not more than eleven miniatures on the large bar. More than one row may be worn, although in some societies the rule is a single bar. The upper row should overlap the lower, and the rows must be spaced to allow a small amount of ribbon of the lower row to show. The upper row should not contain more medals than any lower row. Compatriots possessing five or more medals may either wear the five senior medals or all of them; provided, however, that display of more than three rows is strongly discouraged. Miniature medals are to be worn with formal dress and their wear on informal dress is discouraged. Miniatures should not be worn without their ribbons as the ribbon forms an integral part of the society’s insignia.

Order and Detail of Medal Precedence

The position of honor is on the wearer’s right and on the top. The general rule of precedence when SAR medals are worn with other medals follows, but an individual should refer to the relevant publication for specific precedence for his military branch, governmental department, or the specific requirements of the individual award.

  1. Federal Decorations: Consult the most current relevant publication for medal precedence for proper sequence.
  2. Federal Campaign Medals: Consult the most current relevant publication for medal precedence for proper sequence.
  3. Foreign Military and Civilian Decorations: For foreign campaign decorations, consult the most current relevant publication for medal precedence for proper sequence. For foreign civilian decorations, consult the relevant publication or the specific requirements of the decoration, honor or award. If no relative order of precedence is available, foreign civilian decorations should be ordered from right to left by the date on which they were awarded.
  4. U.S. State Decorations, U.S. State Campaign Medals and U. S. State Organizational and Long Service Medals.
  5. SAR Insignia and Insignia of Other Hereditary, Patriotic and Veterans Societies: Insignia should be worn in chronological order of precedence according to the year of establishment of such organization. Medals awarded for service to a particular organization (such as the medals described in Volume V of the NSSAR Handbook) should be placed immediately following the insignia of the respective organization in the order of precedence established by that organization (for SAR Medals, the order of precedence is specified in Volume V, SAR Handbook).

Wearing Insignia of Other Organizations

As described below, Compatriots may wear membership and service medals of another organization (full size or miniature, as appropriate) in conjunction with SAR insignia and service medals on a medal bar. Compatriots should not wear the broad sash of another organization while at the same time wearing the SAR Membership Badge (including the President General, Former President General or Society President Badges) suspended from the SAR Neck Ribbon. Compatriots should also avoid wearing the broad sash, star, neck ribbon or other officer insignia of another organization at Sons of the American Revolution functions; provided, however, that if a Compatriot is bringing greetings or is otherwise invited as an official representative of that organization, he may choose to wear that organization’s insignia (broad sash, star, neck ribbon, etc.), subject to the protocol rules of the organization being represented.

Wearing Multiple Rosettes & Pins Is Discouraged

It is strongly recommended that only one pin be worn on the left lapel of a suit coat or blazer. Additional lapel pins (including rosettes or membership pins of other fraternal or patriotic organizations) should not be worn when wearing the SAR Rosette. An exception to this guideline is when the Aide-de-Camp Pin is worn on the right lapel to denote former service.