Past Events

Have you held a Luminary Lighting event?

Please share your stories and events with us!

We hope you'll take a moment to share a photo and a few words about the events you've held this year or past years. We look forward to sharing your event with Gold Star Family members around the United States through sharing here. Thank you for your support of our Gold Star families!

Please take a moment to read the stories shared with us below:

2017 Nationwide Events

On the evening of Sunday, September 24, 2017, military supporters across the country came together to show their support for Gold Star family members and to keep the memories of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation alive.

Events ranged from small to large, from individual family events to neighborhood and community-wide events. Some events had guest speakers, others took place at parks and memorials, and over 4,690 people lit luminaries along their driveways and sidewalks. Also, hundreds of individuals helped us light up Facebook with support by changing their social media profile pictures to our Luminary Initiative image on Sunday.

Click here to read more about 2017 Luminary Initiative events.

Luminary Lighting in Pennsylvania

Hosted by Teresita Reynolds

On Sunday evening, my neighbors, my family and I participated in the Gold Star Luminary Initiative. I was very excited to see over 200 Gold Star bags light up our streets.

When I went around my neighborhood, handing out the pamphlets in the weeks preceding the night, all of my neighbors were very receptive to participate. Many of them generously offered to turn on the LED votive candles within the bags.

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2016 Nationwide Events

On the evening of September 25, 2016, thousands of individuals participated in more than 400 separate luminary lighting events in more than 40 states. This amount of support is truly humbling and we can't thank you enough.

Click here to read more about 2016 Luminary Initiative events.

2015 Nationwide Events

On the evening of September 27, 2015, military supporters around the country gathered at dusk to light luminaries in honor of the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.

This year, many individuals, groups, and organizations from across the country signed our Gold Star Luminary Initiative pledge, representing at least 17 states. The two states with the most supporters were California, with 228, and Michigan, with 100.

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, 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.

Columbia, MO 2013

Thank You From Gold Star Family Members

At, nothing makes us happier than knowing we've made a positive impact on the lives of others. One of the reasons we put on the Gold Star Luminary Initiative is to provide comfort and support for the families of our Fallen Heroes, so it's nice to see our mission succeeding. To the left is a thank you note from one of the Gold Star families present at 2013's event in Columbia, MO.