BLUE STAR MEMORIAL MARKER
November 11, 2018
On November 11, 2018, at 11:00 a.m., The Garden Club of Downers Grove dedicated a new Blue Star Memorial Marker at Alexander Bradley Burns American Legion Post 80 in Downers Grove. The event marked the 100th Anniversary of the official end of World War I on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 a.m. -- the eleventh month, the eleventh day, the eleventh hour.
Club President June Vandervest conducted the ceremony. Dignitaries Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully and Illinois State Representative David Olsen were introduced. Garden Clubs of Illinois Treasurer Carol Yee, past District II Director Marilyn Smrcina, American Legion Post 80 Commander Rick McLaren, and American Legion Division Commander Chris Benigno all took part in the ceremony. Stepping stones representing the five branches of the United States Military encircle the monument and a wreath of fresh flowers was placed at the base of the marker as a floral tribute to the fallen from all conflicts.
Follow the ceremony, a reception was held inside the Post with “Blue Star” cookies made by club members, a cake decorated with blue stars, and other refreshments. Our special thanks to John and Kim Cruz and the other members of Post 80 without whose help this event would not have been possible. National Garden Clubs, Inc. has presented the club with a Certificate of Appreciation to commemorate the event.
History of the Blue Star Marker
The Blue Star Marker Program honors all men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces. This program began with the planting of 8,000 Dogwood trees by the New Jersey Council of Garden Clubs in 1944 as a living memorial to veterans of World War II. In 1945, the National Council of State Garden Clubs adopted this program and began a Blue Star Highway system that covers thousands of miles across the Continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. A large metal Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker was placed at appropriate locations along the way.
What we see today is a program that has expanded to include all men and women who had served, were serving, or would serve in the armed services of the United States. Memorial Markers and By-Way markers were added to the Highway Markers, to be used at locations such as National cemeteries, parks, veteran's facilities and gardens.
The Blue Star became an icon in World War II and was seen on flags and banners in homes for sons and daughters away at war, and in churches and businesses. This program has been active all through the years to the present, a fitting tribute to our Armed Forces and especially now.
Source: National Garden Clubs, Inc. Website