BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - As Memorial Day came to a close, the 11,000 Louisiana service members who gave their lives fighting for the country were given one last honor.
A single American flag can be a beautiful sight, but 11,000 flags become a stunning portrait of sacrifice.
"It literally stops people in their tracks," said Janet Broussard of Blue Star Moms of Louisiana. "They stop and want to know what it's all about. We tell them it's 11,000 American flags honoring our Louisiana citizens who have died."
The flags are planted in front of the State Capitol every Memorial Day weekend by the Blue Star Moms of Louisiana. The flags were carried in on Friday by members of the Louisiana National Guard, and cadets from the Youth Challenge helped remove them Monday evening.
Each flag represents a fallen hero from Louisiana in every major conflict back to the Revolutionary War.
"My child made it home. He did four Middle East deployments. He has a purple heart, but he came home," said Broussard. "It's a way of not only honoring their sacrifice but giving thanks that he made it home. This is the least we can do."
On Memorial Day, Taps is played and volunteers carefully remove the flags, aware that each one represents a life lost.
"I have names, I have special people that have been mentors to me. Col. Fred Cherry was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, shot down in '65, I met him and knew him when I was a young company grade officer and he just recently died. That's the name that pops up in my mind right now," said volunteer Steven McGee, who is also a retired Air Force Major.
"It's important we teach the next generation all about Memorial Day and the meaning of it," said Broussard.