Gold Star Family Candlelight Vigil

During Memorial Day weekend, we honor the sacrifices of the Families of the Fallen who have lost a loved one in service to our country with a Candlelight Vigil.  

Our guest speaker is Major General (Dr.) Sharon Bannister, U.S. Air Force (Retired), a Gold Star daughter. Her father, U.S. Air Force Captain Stephen Rusch, was shot down over Laos in 1972. Sharon was six years old, and her sister, Rebecca, was just three when their father was declared missing. Maj. Gen. Bannister will share her personal quest for healing through connections made at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and how her father’s last words written in a letter home have helped propel her life forward.

The Gold Star Family Candlelight Vigil procession will begin on the Museum rooftop and travel down to the Soldiers Cross in Memorial Grove.

Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Sharon R. Bannister was the Director, Medical Operations, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Falls Church, Virginia. As Director of Medical Operations, she was responsible for developing and executing policy, plans and programs for the conduct of comprehensive combat and peacetime operational health care for the Air Force Medical Service in support of 43,000 personnel and 76 installations with a budget of more than $6.2 billion. She oversaw aerospace, clinical, dental, information technology, and medical support policy, and integrates operations with Total Force Guard and Reserve Advisors in support of needs for both the United States Air Force and the United States Space Force. In addition, she directed the Air Force Surgeon General’s Military Health System Transition Cell in coordination with the Defense Health Agency.

Prior to this assignment, Maj. Gen. Bannister served as the Command Surgeon, Headquarters Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. She was responsible to the ACC Commander for the healthcare of 81,000 active duty and civilian personnel located at 11 bases and more than 300 operating locations worldwide. As the Air Force’s medical global force provider, she was charged to support Combatant Command requirements and served as the Air Force Surgeon General’s Readiness Goal Champion. Additionally, she served as the Assistant Surgeon General for Dental Services, providing policy and operational advice to the Air Force Surgeon General on matters involving the dental practice of 1,000 dentists and 2,500 technicians.

The event is finished.


May 28, 2023


8:00 pm

More Info



WEDS-SUN 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.
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