BATON ROUGE — An organization of mothers, aimed at supporting military veterans and promoting patriotism, is seeking volunteers for a clean-up project.
Every year, the Blue Star Mothers of La, Chapter 1, plants 11,000 flags at the State Capitol on the Saturday before Memorial Day to honor Louisiana’s fallen military men and women.
The local chapter is one of approximately 200 chapters of the non-profit organization, Blue Star Mothers of America. According to the organization’s website, it boasts over 6,000 members nationwide.
The local chapter serves Ascension Parish and the Baton Rouge metro area, according to chapter President Natalie Truax.
Typically, the local chapter retrieves the flags on the Saturday following Memorial Day. This year, the group is requesting volunteers to assist with the flag retrieval on Saturday, June 3.
Debi DeLarose, representing the Blue Star Mothers, expressed, “This year, we experienced a very low turnout, and planting the flags was challenging. We will retrieve them this upcoming weekend and require assistance to continue this endeavor. It was disheartening to lack the usual number of volunteers. Many of our participants are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. We need assistance to collect all those flags.”
Delarose mentioned that they typically have 150 to 200 volunteers each year but only reached around 70 this year. She stated that everyone will collaborate to retrieve, clean, and store the flags until next year.
Planting flags for Memorial Day merely scratches the surface of the numerous activities and programs provided by the Blue Star Mothers.
They conduct monthly meetings and organize various events throughout the year, such as the annual softball and kickball tournament called Red, Rock & Blue in July, and Wreaths Across America in December.
Wreaths Across America is an event to honor veterans with wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 3,700 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.
Chapter 1 will hold the wreath-laying ceremony at Baton Rouge National Cemetery, 220 N 19th St.
Membership is open to mothers or stepmothers who have sons or daughters currently serving or who have been honorably or medically discharged from any of the five service branches of the United States, including the National Guard, Reserve, and the Merchant Marine.
For further information about joining our chapter, please contact the membership coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Associate members consist of other family members, spouses, and friends of those currently serving or who have been honorably discharged.
“We want to make sure Gold Star families and soldiers are not forgotten,” Truax said. “They are fighting and dying for our freedoms. We want to keep them in the limelight.”