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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Gold Star Mothers' Ceremony at Houston VA National Cemetery

September 25, 2008

WHEN: Sunday, September 28, 2008, 1 p.m.
WHERE: Houston VA National Cemetery
10410 Veterans Memorial Drive
Houston, Texas 77030

In honor of those mothers whose sons or daughters have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, the Houston VA National Cemetery, the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Veterans Incarcerated/Veterans Redeemed will host a Gold Star Mothers’ Ceremony on September 28, 2008 at 1 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

BACKGROUND:    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 apparel for relatives who died in the service of their country, American women should wear a black band on the left arm with a gold star for each member of the family who had given his life for the nation.

In the years following, service flags were displayed from homes, places of business, churches, schools, etc., to indicate the number of members of the family or organizations who were serving in the Armed Forces or who had died from such service. These service flags have a deep blue star for each living member in the service and a gold star for each member who had died. A mother displaying this flag has the highly respected designation of being a “Gold Star Mother.”

The Houston VA National Cemetery is the second largest national cemetery in the region, encompassing some 419 acres of a former dairy farm in northwest Houston. The cemetery's focal point and the site of all special observances is the horseshoe-shaped building at its center known as the Hemicycle. This exposed aggregate structure contains a chapel and a 75-foot bell tower and encloses a courtyard that can accommodate as many as 5,000 people. All veterans with general or better discharges, their spouses and dependent children are eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Eligible veterans may receive a VA grave marker or headstone even if they are not buried in a national cemetery. For more information, visit the National Cemetery Administration Web site at

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