Aurora’s freedom memorial shines 6,000 lights for Veteran’s Day and beyond

Rick Crandall, founder and organizer for the Freedom Memorial, organized this event to place 6,023 LED lights in mason jars to signify all of the names on the memorial on Tuesday Dec. 08, 2015 at Freedom Memorial.
Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

AURORA | A typically tepid lawn in east Aurora is getting a bit more spotlight this weekend.

Like, 6,000 bulbs-worth.

The Colorado Freedom Memorial, the glass-paned monument that honors the thousands of Coloradans killed in myriad military conflicts over the decades, is hosting its sixth-annual “light their way home” event this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 11, 12 and 13, residents can peruse the memorial and ogle at the 6,218 glass luminarias that will be lit each evening, each one representing a Colorado resident killed in action since the Centennial state formally joined the union in 1876.

New this year, a 16-minute video of America’s various military conflicts will accompany the display as it’s projected onto the side of a nearby warehouse building.

“We continue to look for new ways to honor our fallen and this video, crafted by Image AV, is a breathtaking example of our mission coming to life, Colorado Freedom Memorial Executive Director Rick Crandall said in a statement. “The contrast between the flickering lights of the luminarias and the stark images in the video will leave a lasting impression.”

Crandall fundraised for more than a decade to stand up the shrine to the fallen before an anonymous donor brought the project across the budgetary finish line in 2012. The monument officially opened to the public on Memorial Day 2013.

Local leaders, including U.S. Rep. Jason Crow and Mayor Mike Coffman, will attend a brief ceremony to kick off the weekend on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11.

Light refreshments will be provided.

IF YOU GO: Light Their Way Home will take place 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Nov. 11-13 at The Colorado Freedom Memorial, 756 Telluride St. Free. For more information, or to sign up for a shift to ignite or extinguish the luminarias, visit, or search for the group on Facebook.

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