2018-10-10 / Front Page

Blue Star Memorial headed to Burke

DIANA ROYAL

It’s the first of its kind in the county, and the Midville Garden Club is blooming with excitement over the announcement.

The club, which is a member of the Azalea District, has teamed up with the Garden Club of Georgia Inc., the American Legion Post 120, the City of Midville and the Midville Lions Club to install a Blue Star Memorial Marker at the Historic Midville Cemetery.

Garden club president Valerie Saxon said the group felt they needed to do something significant in the town of Midville, and “this seemed liked a fitting tribute to have there at the cemetery.”

Prescott, along with the club’s project manager, Jean Lightfoot, who is a veteran herself, and vice president, Frances Johnson, shared the history behind the Blue Stars. They explained that at the close of World War II, the National Garden Clubs sought a meaningful way to honor service men and women. “Club members visualized a living memorial, preferring to help beautify and preserve the country these men and women had fought for, rather than build stone monuments in their honor.” By 1944, the New Jersey club planted one thousand dogwood trees along five miles of highway, which had been designated by legislature as Blue Star Drive. Other states began following suit, and within a few years, highways across the national become part of the Blue Star Memorial Highway Program. No billboards were permitted along the designated stretches, and the blue star moniker was attributed to the service flags hung in the windows of various businesses and homes.

In 1955, the mission was enlarged to include not just World War II veterans, but all who had served, who were currently serving and who would serve in the future. The 1980s saw an even bigger desire to expand the project, and blue star markers began popping up in smaller areas, including parks, cemeteries and other historical grounds.

“This is the first one in Burke County,” Lightfoot said, adding that the dedication service is open to the public. “We especially extend a warm welcome to all veterans, service members, ROTC members, the National Guard and their families,” she said. “This is such a wonderful way to honor everyone, and we are so happy to have this memorial in Midville.”

The dedication will take place Saturday, Oct. 27, beginning at 10 a.m. at the cemetery. A reception will follow at the Midville Community House, located at 196 Kilpatrick St. RSVP to midvillegardenclub@gmail.com

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