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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 26, 2007

Keynote speaker is Carlos R. Escobar, Associate Director,
Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.

WHEN: Sunday, September 30, 2007, 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, the North Houston Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, and the Disabled American Veterans, San Jacinto Chapter 1 will host a Gold Star Mothers’ Ceremony on September 30, 2007 at 1 p.m.

The keynote speaker is Carlos R. Escobar, associate director, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. Escobar, a member of the 2006 Leadership VA Class, serves as the facility’s chief operating officer charged with day-to-day operations and management of the facility’s $440 million annual budget. Prior to joining the MEDVAMC, he served as the capital assets manager of the VA Heartland Network in Kansas City, Missouri. He was also a member of several national policy committees including strategic planning, fiscal management, Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services, and Women Veterans.

As a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Regents Advisory Council, Escobar was recently appointed to the 2006 ACHE Federal Executive Healthcare Excellence Award Judging Committee. He received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design - Architecture in 1985 from the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan and a Master of Science in Health Professions in 1990 from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He is also a member of the American Society of Health Care Engineers.

The event is free and open to the public.


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

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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