Gold Star Mothers' Ceremony at Houston VA National Cemetery
Keynote speaker is Carlos R. Escobar, Associate Director, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.
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 http://www.cem.va.gov.
Driving Directions: The Houston VA National Cemetery is located 15 miles northwest of downtown Houston. From Bush Intercontinental Airport, take John F. Kennedy Blvd. south to Beltway 8. Turn right onto Beltway 8 west and exit at Ella. Follow the feeder road west to the third traffic light. Turn left on Veterans Memorial Drive. Proceed to the first traffic light and turn left on T.C. Jester. The cemetery entrance is on the right.
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