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May 26, 2013 / philosophermouseofthehedge

21 sighs

Stoic and precise: 21 men

Measured and precise: 21 steps

Sharp and cold: 21 rifles

More than 21 tears.

More than 21 should remember.

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About the Blue Star Memorial Highways:

Why the Blue Star?

During WW II, families and homes that had a son or daughter in the service frequently displayed a service banner with a blue star.

Blue Star Memorial Highway marker across from NASA. Clear Lake area, Texas.

Blue Star Memorial Highway marker across from NASA. Clear Lake area, Texas.

Blue Star Memorial Highways are a tribute to the armed forces that have defended the United States of America.

In 1944 the New Jersey State Council of Garden Clubs beautified a 5½-mile stretch of U.S. 22 from Mountainside to North Plainfield with approximately 8,000 dogwood trees as a living memorial to the men and women in the Armed Forces from New Jersey. The New Jersey Legislature approved a Joint Resolution on January 22, 1945, designating this highway “Blue Star Drive.”

After World War II, many wanted to honor servicemen and women. People decided it would be better to help beautify and preserve the country the men had fought for than to build stone monuments.

Garden Clubs around the country took up the challenge and used the New Jersey project as a model.

The National Garden Clubs, Inc., became the parent organization for Blue Star Memorial Highways. (http://www.gardenclub.org/)

In 1951, the program expanded from just honoring WW II veterans to include all men and women who served or would serve in the US armed forces.

Today there are more than 70,000 miles of highway designated as Blue Star Memorial Highways nationwide including Hawaii and Alaska.

Freedom of the open road. (Route 66 by Seligman, AZ/  Marriedtofilm.en.wikipedia/ Commons.wikimedia.org)

Freedom of the open road. Worth defending.
(Route 66 by Seligman, AZ/ Marriedtofilm.en.wikipedia/ Commons.wikimedia.org)

Any near you?

A list by state of many Blue Star Memorial Highways and markers is here. (National Remember Our Troops Campaign)

Geocachers are using handheld GPS to create website recording locations, too. (Link above will also take you to those)

If traveling this summer, how about pointing out those Blue Star Memorial Highway markers?

Maybe discuss why it’s there and what it means?

History becomes alive when people talk.

Important to remember all year.

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Memorial Day: more than just a tax-free sale on appliances.

Pause on Monday @ 3:00 PM local time for the National Moment of Remembrance.

(Click that Denver link and read why)

More than 21 reasons are quietly resting for an eternity.

Salutes and sighs,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Need more to entertain? Related post:

Talking Mules, Mines, and WW II – Yep, mules were there. (And of course, the mule say they were more valuable than tanks.)

Thanks guys. Thanks, Dad.

Battle of the Bulge. Thanks, guys

29 Comments

  1. Fearless Leader / May 26 2013 12:23 am

    In looking at the image of the “Blue Star Memorial Highway”, I see “Nassau Bay” on it. That is south of Houston on I-45. NASA (Johnson Space Center) is right there.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2013 1:05 am

      In the picture with the flag, you can see a white corner of one of the NASA buildings – NASA is directly across the street.
      This is the north side of Clear Lake area: Webster, Nassau Bay, Seabrook, and a tiny grabby extended finger of Houston (annexed to get the taxes). Area is about half way between Houston and Galveston on I45.
      That marker is on NASA Road 1 – they can try to call it something else, but it will ALWAYS be NASA Road 1.
      Thanks for driving over

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      • Fearless Leader / May 26 2013 6:23 pm

        Back in the late-70s, I worked at the Eckerd Drug store in Nassau Bay. NASA employees (including Astronauts) were a big part of our customer base.

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        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2013 8:49 pm

          Those were wild times – the landing block parties – real joy once they were all back safe. Hard for those who have grown up with space travel to even imagine.

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  2. Spinster / May 26 2013 1:24 am

    Thanks for the heads up.

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  3. RAB / May 26 2013 1:44 am

    Makes me proud to be from New Jersey! Thanks, phil!

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2013 1:17 pm

      New Jersey is more than reality TV.
      (Hope those living nearby remember get in the car and go visit/buy a meal or at least a coke or coffee – really would help their neighbors recover more quickly…hear the beaches are open…now if the weather will cooperate)
      Thanks for saluting along

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  4. EllaDee / May 26 2013 3:32 am

    I like the red, white, blue stars… a nice wander down the road of remembrance.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2013 1:18 pm

      Our countries have a lot in common – courage and good hearts being just some of that. Thanks for marching by

      Like

  5. Julia Garrison's blog / May 26 2013 5:01 am

    Beautful words of poetry written followed by informative information. Thank you 🙂

    Like

  6. shoreacres / May 26 2013 12:22 pm

    I’ve often seen “our” Blue Star sign, and remember seeing them around the country. I had a vague understanding of what they were for, but never had read the actual history. Very interesting, and worth keeping an eye out for them. Thanks for a Memorial Day post that can provide benefits all year round!

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2013 1:27 pm

      I spotted the decorations on the marker and had to stop. We traveled a lot growing up and those highways were always pointed out and markers with their history noted. Realized when taking the pictures that many probably never noticed the markers or knew what they were.
      Such a wonderful idea just after a brutal war to decide to make places beautiful as memorials rather than statues. Seems healing and fitting. Thanks for driving along

      Like

  7. Valentine Logar / May 26 2013 1:42 pm

    Thank you for the history, we have several in Texas but I wasn’t aware of how they came to be.

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  8. PiedType / May 26 2013 5:15 pm

    I can’t find any mention of it now, but as I recall from my childhood, when we used to drive from Okla. City to Denver via the Oklahoma panhandle (before Interstates), there was a stretch of highway where we always stopped for a picnic lunch (Mom packed her fried chicken. Cheaper than feeding us all on the road.) Dad pointed out that it was a memorial highway. It was lined on both sides with evenly spaced, carefully tended trees, like a formal urban boulevard. Less than 10 years after WWII, I’m sure it meant a lot to him.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2013 8:24 pm

      We always packed bologna, peanut butter and jelly, or tuna – and white bread.
      For many soldiers who never wanted to talk about the war, maybe the trees and highways offered hope that beauty could replace the ugliness.
      I think they are still trying to find all the designated markers and roads – some have been rededicated and refurbished. It’s such a good idea. Thanks for driving along

      Like

  9. The Hook / May 26 2013 5:37 pm

    We possess the capacity to create as well as destroy. I only wish we utilized one more than the other…

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2013 8:34 pm

      Remembering is a start. More flowers, trees, and roads going in new directions – fewer monuments, bitterness, and rigidly refusing to get along. The highways probably reflected the hope that it truly was the war to end all wars. Thanks for parking and seeing stars

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  10. jmmcdowell / May 26 2013 6:57 pm

    We were on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Friday and saw the markers at the rest stops. Thanks for bringing this to readers’ attention and helping to honor those who serve(d).

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2013 8:50 pm

      It’s nice the rest stops are where the markers are – that way there’s hope the story won’t be lost and forgotten. Thanks for driving over and seeing stars

      Like

  11. Spinster / May 26 2013 7:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Spinster's Compass and commented:
    Tomorrow 05.27.2013 is Memorial Day back home. It’s a day that most Americans have off as a federal holiday, and we make the most of it – countless shopping sales, gatherings, parties, and the good ole American barbecue/grill-fest. But most importantly, Memorial Day celebrates & remembers those who fought & died while fighting for the United States in different wars. I dedicate this re-blog to my friend Jeff Lebrun, who died in Iraq over 8 years ago in the name of an unjust war (another debate for another time), as well as the countless others who died fighting on behalf of the U.S. military. Enjoy the day off, but don’t forget the day’s main purpose.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2013 8:02 pm

      Couldn’t be said any better. Thanks for remembering. So many lost. A salute to you, too.

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      • Spinster / May 26 2013 8:08 pm

        Thank you.

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  12. aFrankAngle / May 27 2013 9:29 am

    A wonderful tribute on a day that we need reminders!

    Like

  13. jannatwrites / May 28 2013 2:55 pm

    I’d never heard of the Blue Star Memorial Highways. I checked AZ and there are a couple sections here…unfortunately, they are not anywhere that I’m likely to go. Maybe we’ll get to see it in another state sometime.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2013 3:20 pm

      Wow – hard to believe AZ doesn’t have more…but not all of them are listed. Go poke a news reporter and suggest this would make a great July 4th/ Vet Day column…they would have time to do some research/traveling to locate them.
      Are you having big dust storms? (Thought I saw some report recently about a big wall of dust – but got distracted and missed it) That would be some experience.
      Thanks for driving by!

      Like

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