Columbia, MO 2014 Event Recap
On the evening of September 28, 2014, approximately 100 people gathered at Bethel Park in Columbia, Missouri, to pay tribute to Missouri's fallen warriors in the War on Terror.
Shortly after 5 pm, Gold Star families arrived at the park and the ceremony began with the Presentation of Colors by the University of Missouri ROTC. Following the presentation of colors, Edwin Hall, Chaplain of Columbia's American Legion Post 202, led the group in a prayer. After the prayer, local radio personality and Master of Ceremony Gary Nolan was introduced and local Gold Star Mother Sherry Wyatt read the 2014 Gold Star Family Day proclamation, followed by the Hickman High School A Capella Singers, under the direction of Matt Felt, singing a number of patriotic songs.
After the choir finished singing, it was time for the luminary lighting to begin. As the public lined a walkway leading from the pavilion in which the ceremony was taking place to the park's lake with luminaries and American flags, MarineParents.com Founder and Executive Director Tracy Della Vecchia read the names of the approximately 150 Missourians whose lives have been lost in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. In total, 320 luminaries were lit - two for each service member who died and a further 20 for those who made it home from war but have since lost their lives to suicide.
Following the lighting of the luminaries, there was a shared moment of silence, followed by the playing of Taps by Paul Hobbs of American Legion Post 202 to conclude the ceremony.