Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

BLUE STAR MEMORIAL HIGHWAY

Have you ever seen a sign along a road that says “Blue Star Memorial Highway?” I have noticed these signs for years but never knew what a Blue Star Memorial Highway was. And now that we are driving down many of them, they are much more noticeable to me. Curious, I did some research and here is what I found.

The Blue Star Memorial Highways are a tribute to the men and women serving in the armed forces that defend the United States of America. The idea dates back to 1944 when the New Jersey State Council of Garden Clubs beautified a 5½-mile stretch of road by planting 8,000 dogwoods. The Garden Clubs wanted to honor the men and women serving overseas with a living memorial so that upon their return they would see what a beautiful country they were fighting for. After the beatification was complete, the New Jersey Highway Commissioner, Spencer Miller, Jr. suggested that this program be carried out nationwide while giving a speech at the annual convention of the National Council of Garden Clubs (National Council) in 1945. This was just the kind of project the National Council had been looking for.

Using the New Jersey project as its model, the National Council made a study of the inter-regional highways of the United States. A Blue Star Highway system was outlined, consisting of one east-west and seven north-south highways. (Today we have many more.) Highway Commissioners were informed of the plan as were also the Garden Clubs in each state, and all were invited to participate. Every State President was asked to secure collaboration of the State Highway Department before undertaking a Blue Star project, as this was considered vital to the success of the plan. A uniform marker was adopted to show memorialization, the design of which was a gift from Mrs. Frederic Kellogg, founder of National Council. The Blue Star, taken from the blue star in the service flag, was chosen to symbolize the memorial because it was used during World War II on flags and homes of 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 Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker program has not died and it continues on today. Many State Legislatures and municipalities are today dedicating additional highways and erecting new memorials.

So next time you are driving along and see Blue Star Memorial markers, say thanks to the men and women who serve in the armed forces and the National Council that keep their memory fresh in our minds.





3 comments:

  1. Another outstanding post, extremely interesting! I was aware of the high level meaning of the “Blue Star Memorial Highway” (honoring our veterans), however I didn’t know any of the history. Thanks so much for looking into this and sharing with the rest of us. I will remember your post and the significance behind the name (Blue Star Memorial Highway) the next time I notice one of these signs.

    John
    relaxedrush.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. We love the fact that you took time to add all the pictures too.

    Travel Safe
    Dawn and Denise

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  3. I had no clue and like you have seen them all over our travels. GREAT article and you made us pause to give thanks...

    Evielynne

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