The T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center, 12477 Merit Drive, now has a Blue Star Memorial marker – only the third one in the city.
“This is a living tribute that honors all of the men and women who served, are serving or will serve in the United States armed forces,” said Tim Mallad, CEO of Presbyterian Communities and Services, which owns the center.
During the dedication ceremony in October, Mallad thanked the Designers and Diggers Garden Study Club for raising the funds for the marker and club member Harriet Gibbs for suggesting the hospice as its location.
The Blue Star Memorial Program began with the planting of 8,000 Dogwood trees by the New Jersey Council of Garden Clubs in 1944 as a living memorial to veterans of World War II.
In 1945, the National Council of State Garden Clubs adopted this program and created a Blue Star Highway system, which covers thousands of miles across the Continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Council members envisioned a “ribbon of living memorial plantings traversing every state.” The first year after the program was adopted, seven states placed markers.
By the end of 1949, more than 33 states were participating and more than 16,000 miles were dedicated, with large metal Blue Star Memorial Highway Markers placed at appropriate locations along the way.
The Blue Star became an icon in World War II and was seen on flags and banners in homes for sons and daughters away at war, as well as in churches and businesses. It is a symbol people still recognize.