Saluting our armed forces
Blue Star Memorial Markers honor U.S. military
On the 11th hour, the 11th day, the 11th month of 1918, World War I ended. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as “Armistice Day” to commemorate the end of World War I, also known as the “Great War.” In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name from “Armistice Day” to “Veterans Day” to honor all veterans who fought to preserve America’s freedoms. During both wars, blue star banners were hung in windows to announce that a family member was serving in the armed forces. The banner had one blue star for each family member on active duty. If a family member died while serving, the blue star was replaced with a gold star. If the family member was injured, the blue star was replaced with a silver star. These historic banners are still available from the American Legion organization. (https://www.legion.org/troops/ bluestar or 888-4534-4466)
In 1944, the New Jersey State Council of Garden Clubs voted to beautify a stretch of U.S. Highway 22 by planting 8,000 dogwood trees in memory of American servicemen and women who lost their lives during World War I and World War II. This section of highway was named “Blue Star Drive” in honor of the blue star banners.
In 1945, the National Council of State Garden Clubs adopted New Jersey’s “Blue Star Drive” idea. They changed the name to “Blue Star Memorial Highway Project” and began placing Blue Star Memorial Highway and By-Way Markers along state highways, in parks, veterans facilities, national cemeteries, and gardens across the U.S. The area around each marker was landscaped by the sponsoring garden club.
This project is still actively sponsored by garden clubs throughout the U.S. The metal marker displays a blue star and the words, “A tribute to the Armed Forces of America.” The goal of this project is to grow a ribbon of living memorial plantings across America to honor our troops. Seventythree years after the Blue Star Memorial Highway Project began, it is still actively sponsored by National Garden Clubs and is one of their longestrunning projects.
Federated Garden Council of Yuma, comprised of all four local garden clubs, honored our armed forces by placing a Blue Star Memorial Marker at the Mohawk rest area on Interstate 8, 2.5 miles east of Mohawk. Yuma Garden Club placed a Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker near the entrance to Yuma Civic Center.
“Our servicemen and women are held in extremely high regard, especially by me, since my son was in the Navy as an EOD technician for many years,” said Pecan Grove Garden Club president Lois Weinstein. “We all need to honor and respect our armed forces for their service to our country,” she said.
“These wonderful blue star memorials are a visual reminder to all of us as we travel around the country that we should stop and give thanks for what our veterans have done to preserve our freedom and for what garden clubs have done in grateful appreciation of our veterans’ sacrifices,” said Betty McEntire of the Yuma Orchid and African Violet Society.
The Federated Garden Council of Yuma salutes our veterans and our active military. We extend a special salute to our local military serving at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station and the U.S. Army Proving Ground. Our servicemen and women are held in high esteem, and their sacrifices for America are never forgotten.
FEDERATED GARDEN COUNCIL OF YUMA donated funds to have a Blue Star Memorial Marker placed at the rest area on Interstate 8, 2.5 miles east of Mohawk. A Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker (in photo at left) was unveiled by Yuma Garden Club in 2012. It stands in front of the Yuma Civic Center.
THE BLUE STAR MEMORIAL HIGHWAY AND BY-WAY MARKER PROJECT HONORS our military and is a project sponsored by National Garden Clubs. Markers are placed throughout the U.S. in small gardens planted by local garden clubs with the goal of creating a ribbon of living memorial plantings across America. This marker is in front of the Yuma Civic Center.
A U.S. MARINE COLOR GUARD PARTICIPATED in the 2012 Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker dedication ceremony held at the Yuma Civic Center.