BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A sea of red white and blue washes over the front lawn of the state capitol this Memorial Day. More than 11,000 flags represent the more than 11,000 Louisiana service men and women who have paid the ultimate price in service to our country.
The sight and its deeper meaning is truly captivating enough to make some take pictures while others simply sat and reflected Monday, pausing to take in the full weight of the annual tribute. It was a weight that came crashing down on Channing Knott in a wave of emotions.
"Something in my heart was just telling me to come over here," said Knott. "I'm overwhelmed and sad but kind of happy. It's like bittersweet because they died mostly to give us freedom."
Her first time there, Knott says the significance of the thousands of sacrifices is enough to bring you to tears when thinking about each life laid down to uphold the freedoms enjoyed by so many.
"We wouldn't have all this so it hit hard being as brave as they were just to pull themselves away from their families just to fight for something that they know they needed to fight for," said Knott.
Joelle Wright has also never been to see the flags but knew this year would have to be different. She says her daughter is finally old enough that they could share the moment together.
"I wanted to give her something to make clear why we celebrate Memorial Day and I want her to understand and have that respect for our service members that I grew up having," Wright added.
While that respect and deeper meaning often gets lost, Wright says it is important she passes along to the next generation that this is not just another holiday.
"I want her to understand the meaning of this day and it's an important lesson for her," said Wright.
The Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana will leave the flags in place at the capitol building until Saturday, June 2. They will removed them following a brief ceremony at 4 p.m. and they are encouraging any volunteers to help with the process.