Blue Star Marker honoring armed forces to be dedicated in Chestnut Ridge garden

planting Honor Garden at Chestnut Ridge
Members of South Town Gardeners in 2014 planting the Honor Garden at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park. Photo courtesy South Town Gardeners

The South Towns Gardeners and the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry will hold a dedication of the Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 29 in the Honor Garden at Chestnut Ridge Park, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Orchard Park. The garden surrounds the flag pole near the casino.

The marker will honor all members of the armed forces, past and present.

The Honor Garden in which the marker will be set is a prairie garden that incorporates red twig dogwoods among other native plants.

It was planted by and is maintained by members of the South Towns Gardeners in cooperation with the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry. Grants were given by the Garden Clubs of Western New York’s Eighth District and the Chestnut Ridge Conservancy.

The Blue Star became an icon during World War II. It was seen on service flags in the front windows of homes telling others that a family member was serving.

Today’s Blue Star Memorial Program traces its roots to the planting of 1,000 dogwood trees along five miles of highway designated Blue Star Drive by the Garden Club of New Jersey in 1944.

In 1945 the program was adopted by the National Garden Clubs, Inc. (called National Council of State Garden Clubs at the time) creating a “ribbon of living memorial plantings traversing every state” to honor WW II veterans. In 1951 the mission expanded to honor all who have served, are serving and would serve in the armed forces of the United States.

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