UW Tacoma Student Vets Honor Gold Star Families

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The Student Veterans at UW Tacoma organized an event on campus to remember those killed while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day is an annual event honoring those who lost a son or daughter who were serving in the United States Armed Forces. This year’s event took place on Sunday, September 30. The Student Veterans at UW Tacoma paid tribute to the fallen during a ceremony on campus.

UW Tacoma student Thomas Di Giorgio (right) works with volunteers to create luminaries for the 2018 Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day.A group of student veterans, UW Tacoma staff and faculty along with Gold Star family members created luminaries to remember those who died. Volunteers placed light sticks inside ivory colored bags stamped with a gold star.

The gold star tradition comes from the Service Flag that was first used in World War I. Families hung the flags to signify they had an immediate family member serving in an armed conflict. The flags came with a blue star that was replaced by a gold star if the loved one died.

Thomas Di Giorgio is the president of Student Veterans at UW Tacoma. He pitched the idea for a luminary to others in the registered student organization and to the Veteran Military Resource Center (VMRC). “The response was incredible,” he said. “The team really came together in a short amount of time to make this happen.”

Di Giorgio is close friends with Monica McNeal. McNeal is the West Coast Region Director for FourBlock. FourBlock is a career readiness program offered within the VMRC. McNeal is a Gold Star mother. “Monica does so much throughout the community and I wanted to take this opportunity to honor the sacrifice she and her son made,” said Di Giorgio.

The luminaries stayed on campus for 24 hours. “We wanted to give students a chance to reflect,” said Di Giorgio. “This was such a unique opportunity and I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / October 2, 2018
Photos by: 
Rosalynn Johnson
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or johnbjr@uw.edu