Earlier this month, the Key Peninsula got its first Blue Star Memorial Marker.
It was first unveiled at the Bay Shore Garden Club’s 60th anniversary celebration, in which the group dedicated a memorial garden at the Longbranch Fire Department.
Here is an e-mail Cheryl Ozbirn sent to The News Tribune on June 15 (She also sent us this picture of the memorial to the right):
Garden Club President Francine Minor, instrumental in the placement of this memorial, could not have asked for a more perfect day to hold the dedication. The ceremony was led by Pastor Dan Whitmarsh of Lakebay Community Church. Laying of the wreath was done by Military Guests of Honor Chris Hagen and Mike Riegal. Guests of honor also in attendance from the Peninsula fire dept. were Fire Chief Chuck West and Medic Joel Hielding. Prior to the service the attendees were entertained by the Down Home Band. The Key singers led with the song America the Beautiful during the ceremony. Also in attendance were the Key Peninsula Veterans, and the Capitol District Designers .
Bay shore Garden Club was founded in 1948. Current Members Marquerite Bussard and Evelyn Evans are the daughters from two of the original founding members. The Blue Star Marker and Memorial Garden were made possible through the garden club’s annual flower sale, Christmas Wreath sale, and the Mason Bee Block program put on by Francine Minor and Tedi Spiering.
The Blue Star Memorial Marker Program of the National Garden Clubs, Inc. began in 1945 to honor the men and women serving in the Armed Forces during World War II. The name was chosen for the star on flags displayed in homes and businesses denoting a family member serving. Garden clubs pictured a ribbon of living memorial plantings traversing every state. The designation of Blue Star Highways was achieved through petitions to the state legislatures and cooperation with the Departments of Transportation. A uniform marker was designed to identify the Highways.
The Blue Star Memorial Program grew to extend thousands of miles across continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. All men and women who have served, are serving, or will serve in the Armed Forces of the United States are included.
Markers continue to be dedicated each year on highways, Veterans’ facilities, National Cemeteries, parks, and civic and historic sites, showing our appreciation for those who defend our country.
No marker may bear an individual’s name. These markers are designed to pay tribute to the Armed Forces as a whole