Tarrant County, TXGenWeb

Remember Those Who Sacrifice
The Blue Star Memorial Highway

(Published Sep. 12, 2002, NW Times-Record)

Contributed by Kenneth Klein
Staff Writer, NW Times-Record

 

It's a funny thing about history - the more it changes, the more it seems to remain the same. It repeats itself. Sure, the people and places may change, but the passions that lead people to a make a better life for themselves, and those around them stays the same. That's one of the reasons I enjoy writing about it so much. The point was driven home recently when the Times-Record asked me to write an article about the Blue Star Highway Memorial Marker on Boat Club Road.

My knowledge of this historical marker was pretty much the same as anyone else's. Sure, I've driven by the Marker a couple of thousand times, and knew it was there. But I was uncertain what it was, or why it was put there. It's situated 1/10 of a mile south of the intersection of Boat Club Road (FM1220) and W.J. Boaz. So I met with Mary Perkins, a member of the Texas Garden Club to find out. With her as my guide, I was going to find out. I'll fill you in - so let's start at the beginning.....

The Blue Star was a recognized icon in World War 2. Families would proudly display a banner in a window of their home, with one blue star representing each son or daughter serving in the military. Churches and businesses also participated to remember those far from home, fighting for their country.

The National Garden Club wanted a way to honor the service men and women, so the star became the inspiration for the Blue Star Program. It originally began with the planting of 8,000 Dogwood trees by the New Jersey Garden Clubs in 1944 as a living memorial to veterans of World War 2. The following year, the National Council of Garden Clubs, as it was called then, adopted the program and began the Blue Star Highway System, which covers thousands of miles across the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii. The program was also expanded to include all men and women who had served, were serving or would serve in the armed forces of the United States. A large metal Blue Star Memorial Highway marker was then placed along appropriate locations along the way.

At the request of garden clubs throughout the State of Texas, the Texas Highway department approved a Bicentennial Minute order in Austin on May 4th, 1976 to designate the memorial highways, and to erect Blue Star markers as petitioned by these Texas Garden Clubs. Between 1976 and 1988, the State approved orders designating eight stretches of Texas highway as Blue Star Routes.

In 1976, the Eagle Mountain Garden Club made an application for a Marker to be placed in honor of all the men and women who made a sacrifice to make our live's better. This Marker is placed on the site of the second Wayside School, which was dedicated with it's own Texas Historical Marker in 1967. To compliment these two Markers, a Memorial Roadside Park was added in August 1986.

I came away with a different understanding for the Blue Star Memorial Marker. Unlike historical markers that mark a past specific and finite event, the Blue Star Marker is a living memorial that goes on and on. The Marker honors the unsung heroes that were, and those who are going to be. Just as the Marker honors the World War service personnel, it also honors our servicemen and women who are willing to sacrifice so that we may enjoy our freedom and way of life. History does repeat itself. So think of our Armed Forces personnel, and all the other unsung heroes on this anniversary of 9/11.

Our thanks go to Mary Perkins, Donna Womack and Mary Tom Williams for the contribution to this article.

 

Bibliography

Mary Perkins, Eagle Mountain Garden Club, interview
Rootsweb.com, Preserving Texas History; Blue Star Memorial Highways in Texas
TexasEscapes.com, Blue Star Highways
gardenclub.org, The Blue Star Memorial Program


 

This page was last modified 26 Feb 2003.

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