President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first “Armistice Day” in 1919 by saying, “The reflections of this day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service with gratitude for the victory.” In 1938, legislation was passed to make November 11 a federal holiday.
The Blue Star Highway program is a small way to remember our veterans. The idea came about in 1944 when the New Jersey State Council of Garden Clubs planted 8,000 dogwood trees as a living memorial to the men and women in the Armed Forces. The Blue Star, taken from the blue star in the service banner, was chosen to symbolize the memorial because it was displayed during World War II by families that had a son or daughter in the service.
Today, there are more than 70,000 miles of highway designated as Blue Star Memorial Highways. The program had been expanded to include Memorial Markers and Memorial by-ways that are used in parks, gardens, veteran’s facilities and even National Cemeteries.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to attend the dedication of the Blue Star Memorial Highway marker which is located on I64 east of Griffin. This marker is a tribute to the armed forces that have defended and given so much to the United States. The Blue Star Memorial Highway marker is sponsored by the Garden Club of New Harmony, Inc.
Our military men and women do not protect our country with the hopes of receiving praise. They do it because they feel it is their duty to defend our country’s most sacred principles and beliefs.
I read a quote that other day that stated “a veteran – whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve – is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life’”. This particularly resounded with me as I reflected upon the times I have met with members of our community whom have served our great state.
Saying “thank you” to someone who has served or is currently serving should be common action, and Veterans Day should serve as a reminder of this action. I hope that you take some time out of your day to honor a veteran. They are the real heroes every day and deserve our appreciation and support.