Blue Star Marker ceremony honors veterans, active military

From staff and press reports

Members of three local garden clubs joined city leaders and a crowd of 200 in Louisville November 9 for the dedication of a Blue Star Memorial Highway marker.

The marker is located on the Hwy 25/15 bypass, and it’s there to honor the members of all the armed forces.

“It is a real special day to honor those who have served, those serving and those who will serve,”said Mike Tagert, MDOT Northern District Transportation Commissioner who helped the local garden clubs place the markers.

The marker does more than just honor members of the military according to officials.

“This adorns our city and adds to it,” said Louisville Mayor Will Hill.

This marks the first time for the city of Louisville to have a Blue Star Memorial Highway marker dedicated. Two were recently placed in Lowndes County.

With the marker visible in a high traffic area travelers can observe the city’s patriotism and remember the country’s servicemen and women according to the supporters of the marker placement.

“We appreciate the sacrifices our military make to help keep us a free,” said Nancy Moore of President of the Garden Clubs of Mississippi. Placement of this Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker helps increase awareness of the importance our military plays in defending our country and our rights as a democratic nation.”

The Louisville Garden Club, Town and Country Garden Club, and Winston Garden Club with the support of the Garden Clubs of Mississippi purchased the marker and worked with MDOT to place the marker on the bypass.

As part of the program, the MDOT Color Guard presented the state and US. Flags. State Senator Giles called the4 eve4nt to order and served as emcee. The Meridian L-17 Formation Team of the 3 planes performed a flyover of the event. Mary Tabor performed the national anthem.

There are around 2,300 Blue Star Memorial Highway markers across the United States.

Begun in 1945, Blue Star Memorial Highway program is one of the longest-running projects sponsored by National Garden Clubs, Inc.

Use of blue stars to honor our military began during World War I when Army Capt. Robert Queissner designed a rectangular banner 9 inches wide and 14 inches long. The banner had a white field, red border and two blue stars in the center representing his two sons who were fighting in the war. He hung the banner in his front window where passers-by could see it and remember his sons and their dedication to keeping America free. His idea of honoring military family members serving in the war with a blue star banner soon caught on. By World War II, the blue star banner was hung in thousands of windows across America. If a family member was killed, the blue star was replaced with a gold one; and if a family member was injured or disabled, a silver star replaced the blue one.

In 1944, the New Jersey State Council of Garden Clubs voted to beautify a stretch of U.S. Highway 22 with 8,000 dogwood trees in memory of American servicemen and women who had given their lives to protect our country during World War I and World War II. The Legislature of New Jersey voted to name this piece of highway Blue Star Drive in honor of the blue star banners flown in so many windows during both world wars.

In 1945, National Council of Garden Clubs, Inc. chose to adopt New Jersey’s Blue Star Drive as a national project. They changed the name to Blue Star Memorial Highway Project and began placing Blue Star Memorial Highway Markers along highways across America.