On October 13 the Air Force did a flyover in honor of Texas’ newest Blue Star Memorial marker located at the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center (12477 Merit Dr, Dallas, TX 75251). This is of significance, as this is the third Blue Star Memorial in Dallas. The marker was unveiled during a dedication ceremony, preceded with remarks from Tim Mallad, CEO of Presbyterian Communities and Services; and Dana Harkey, president of Designers and Diggers Garden Study Club. The dedication ceremony included an invocation and benediction, patriotic music, flag presentation by the color guard, and the playing of taps. Approximately 200 people were in attendance, and among them there was active members of the military as well as veterans and their loved ones.
“This is an incredible honor, and we are pleased to be the third site in Dallas to receive a Blue Star Memorial marker,” said Mallad. “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. We are honored that the Designers and Diggers Garden Study Club voted to provide the funds for the Blue Star Memorial Marker, its installation and the maintenance of the garden in which the memorial will be placed. We are thankful that Harriet Gibbs, chairman of the dedication ceremony, suggested the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center as a suitable place for the next marker in Dallas. She has a personal connection with Faith Presbyterian Hospice, as she served as a chairman in the Each Moments Matter Luncheon and learned of the opening of the new hospice center through her ties with the organization. We serve many veterans and the marker will be a meaningful tribute to them and their families.”
The markers are always paired with plants so that the memorial is a living one. The hope is that it will evoke inspiration and gratitude in those who see it and stop to reflect on the service and sacrifice of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“It is a privilege for our garden club to sponsor this Blue Star Memorial at the Pickens Hospice Center today,” said Gibbs. “Veterans’ issues have been a project area for our club for many years. This setting is a perfect location to remember with gratitude and honor those men and women who have protected our country and will continue to do so in the future. We must never forget their sacrifice, the huge debt of gratitude that is owed and that we only enjoy the liberties we have because they served to protect them. Patients, families, staff and those who enjoy walking the lake path will view this marker and be reminded to honor all those who defend our freedom.”
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. They 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 still a symbol that people recognize to this day.