HOW TO: Ideas and Suggestions

Be the Leader in Your Community

Here are suggestions about how to create a Luminary Initiative event in your community:

  • Make a commitment to establish a Luminary Initiative lighting event within your organization or community. Put it in writing and select one member to lead the organization in your efforts.

  • Involve your local civic leaders and try to have a citywide promotion of the Luminary Initiative.

  • Pick a location, such as a park, and time for the luminary lighting.

  • Spread the word through traditional media and social media resources. Create awareness of your event.

  • If no event is possible, encourage neighborhoods to light luminaries in front yards, driveways or on front porches.

  • If possible, invite any Gold Star family members in your community to attend, or alert them to the activities you have planned in their honor.

  • Join the Luminary Initiative group on Marine Family Network to connect and share with others who are participating around the country.

Ideas for the Lighting Ceremony

  • They could reach out to local high school marching bands. They typically rehearse throughout the summer, so they may be the best bet to be performance ready at this time.

  • If your area has a pipe band you may want to reach out to them if a marching band isn’t available.

  • We recommend lighting luminaries for White Star families (those who have lost a family member due to suicide), in addition to Gold Star families. If you light 150 luminaries for Gold Star Families, then also light 150 for white star families. The bags don’t have to have names on them because that information can sometimes be difficult to track down, but lighting them in remembrance of those members is respectful.

  • Bugles Across America is an organization that has a bugler play a live rendition of Taps. You can request a bugler through their website here.

  • You can also reach out to high school choir groups or church choir groups to sing at your event.

  • You can read the names of fallen heroes from your state who died post 9/11 while lighting the luminaries.

  • If you search your local national guard online there may be a community relations tab on their page and you can request that they attend your ceremony.

  • Some areas have Patriot Guard Riders who would be more than happy to attend the ceremony. The same can be said about American Legion Riders.

  • You can make a request to the mayor to sign and/or read a proclamation of Gold Star Family Day as the last Sunday in September each year for your city.