Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Sec. Joey Strickland, COL (USA Retired) announced the U.S. Armed Forces Memorial Grove of Lights, a brand new holiday display honoring those fallen Louisiana soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty protecting our state and nation as well as their Gold Star Families. The light display is available to see now through January 7, 2022 and is located at 599 State Capitol Drive in Baton Rouge on the side of the Louisiana Veterans Memorial Park facing the Governor’s Mansion.

“These men and women of all military branches who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedom that we all enjoy, have paid a tremendous price in doing so, and they deserve to be honored and remembered, said Gov. Edwards. “We know that the holiday season can be a very difficult time for their families who have loved and supported them, which is why we wanted to find a special way to recognize their courage and service. As a veteran, I know that when a loved one makes the commitment to serve, their families serve right along with them. We owe them our gratitude and will keep them in our prayers.” 

The tradition of the gold star began during World War I. During the war, a blue star was used on service flags and hung in homes and businesses to represent each living active-duty member. As service members were killed in combat, the gold star was superimposed on the blue star to honor the person for their ultimate sacrifice to the country. Eventually, the mothers of those fallen service members became known as Gold Star Mothers, and their families Gold Star Families.

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