Falls lights to mark Indigenous school children, Pride month

Niagara Falls is illuminated in orange on May 30 in memory of 215 Indigenous children discovered in a mass grave at a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. (Contributed photo)

Gov.Kathy Hochul today announced that Niagara Falls and 12 other landmarks across New York will be lit gold tonight in honor of Gold Star Families Day.

Gold Star Families are those who have lost a loved one who was serving during a time of conflict. The term "Gold Star" was used during World War I and referred to a Gold Star being affixed over the Blue Star of the United States Service Flag. The Gold Star Service Flag and Gold Star Lapel Pin continue to identify those family members who have lost a loved one in service to their nation. 

"There is no greater sacrifice than sending loved ones off to serve, and families do so knowing there is a chance they may never make it back home," Governor Hochul said. "It is our duty to honor and support our Gold Star families and ensure that they feel the depth of our gratitude for a debt that can never be repaid."

New York leads the nation in honoring its Gold Star Families, recognizing their sacrifice in support of this nation's ideals, values, and freedoms. New York State has ensured Gold Star Parents are a priority for meaningful care and support, instituting a yearly increase for Gold Star Parent Annuity recipients, as well as the creation and expansion of the New York's Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute - or MERIT - Scholarship for families of service members who lost their lives while serving this nation.

Landmarks to be lit include:

• One World Trade Center

• Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge

• Kosciuszko Bridge

• The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building

• State Education Building

• Alfred E. Smith State Office Building

• State Fairgrounds - Main Gate and Expo Center

• Niagara Falls 

• The "Franklin D. Roosevelt" Mid-Hudson Bridge

• Grand Central Terminal - Pershing Square Viaduct

• Albany International Airport Gateway

• The Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex

• MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station

Each year the last Sunday in September is nationally recognized as Gold Star Families Day. The New York State Division of Veterans' Services will provide Gold Star Families with proclamations commemorating and honoring the sacrifices of Gold Star Families. State Capitals across the country have long participated in this day of remembrance by lighting luminaries or buildings in gold to honor these families' sacrifices.

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