Just in time for Memorial Day, a new Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker honoring the US Armed Forces will be dedicated at the OTE Manzanita Rest Area. The marker is the culmination of a two year project by the Siskiyou District Garden Clubs, Inc. The event takes place on Monday, May 28, 2012 at noon on the I-5 northbound side of the Manzanita rest area (a short distance past Interstate exit 61.)
Scheduled presenters at the event include Grants Pass Mayor Mike Murphy, Veteran’s Services Division Administrator Tom Mann, local Garden Club President Allen Hammer, Oregon Sate Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. President Garnet Ascher, and National Garden Clubs First Vice President Linda Nelson.
“Oregonians are fortunate that local citizens like the Siskiyou Garden Club coordinated such a wonderful tribute to our vets,” said OTE’s CEO Cheryl Gribskov. “I want to thank Shirley Schmidt and her fellow members of the Garden Club for their dedication.”
“District Director Joan Foley supported the work and I acted as main coordinator,” said Siskiyou Garden Club Chair Shirley Schmidt. “Oregon was the first state west of the Rockies to place a Blue Star Memorial Marker. There are approximately 75-markers across the state, all placed by Garden Club chapters of the Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs.”
The first Blue Star Memorial Marker was dedicated in 1944 in New Jersey. By the time the war ended in 1945 the Blue Star Memorial project was approved by the National Council of State Garden Clubs. The program developed the marker pathway as a nationwide living memorial: a ribbon of dedicated highways across the country in every state. Markers were located at state lines, rest areas and entrances to towns.
All markers feature a blue star as its centerpiece. The star represents the traditional service flag which hung in windows, symbolizing sons or daughters serving in the Armed Forces. While originally intended as a memorial to WWII veterans, the Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker Program was expanded in 1951 to include all service personnel, both past and present.
For more information about the Blue Star Memorial Highway dedication at the Manzanita rest area, contact Shirley Schmidt: 541-218-3940.