Heritage Park now home to Blue Star Memorial

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published September 19, 2017

 Michigan Blue Star Mothers 198 attendees include Chapter President Carmen Johnson, from Troy, and Louise Prewitt, from Warren, at the Sept. 9 Blue Star Memorial event in Heritage Park.

Michigan Blue Star Mothers 198 attendees include Chapter President Carmen Johnson, from Troy, and Louise Prewitt, from Warren, at the Sept. 9 Blue Star Memorial event in Heritage Park.

FARMINGTON HILLS — A number of blue star-shaped balloons flew throughout Heritage Park Sept. 9, dotting the area as a symbolic marker of its dedication as a Blue Star Memorial.

A blue star indicates that someone has a relative serving in the armed services.

The North Farmington Garden Club-sponsored marker, a large rock set near the entrance of the kid-friendly Nature Discovery Trail — just beyond the Nature Center — pays tribute to all U.S. armed forces servicemen and women. Michigan has 92 such markers.

Farmington Garden Club President Carol Brodbeck said after the ceremony — which included the playing of taps and a presentation of the marker — that the marker is a great opportunity to come together and honor those who deserve it most.

“Those who have died securing our freedom, those who are now serving around the world, and those who will serve in the future,” Brodbeck said, “and we are honored to have them and thank them with our hearts and prayers.”

Brodbeck added that it is apt that the marker is situated near the start of the Nature Discovery Trail, which numerous kids frequent.

“I feel that if we don’t have something like this and keep it rather than getting rid of it someday, we may repeat the past. And I hope the youth are trained so they can carry on and keep this country safe,” she said.

North Farmington Garden Club President Diane Hague, who facilitated organizing the event, agreed.

“We wanted it where children would see it,” she said of its placement. “They’ll come by and see it, and the little plaque will give them understanding of why we have the marker there and how long it’s been around.”

Hague, who sported a pin with a blue star on it, said she has a grandson in the Marines.

“It’s amazing what the Marines do to young people — they can really turn them into an adult. … He’s a neat kid. … We’re real proud of him,” she said. 

According to a press release, the Blue Star Memorial program was developed by the National Garden Clubs Inc. in 1945. It was based on the original blue star flag displayed in family homes of those serving. The star became a standard symbol on dedicated Blue Star Highways throughout the United States; there is a Blue Star Highway along the western coast of Michigan.

Garden clubs work with local towns to place the markers, usually within a small garden or in parks, or along highways and other areas. There are almost 3,000 Blue Star Memorials in the country, Hague said during the event.

Hague said that milkweed, yarrow and joe pye weeds were planted in front of the marker in early September, about a week before the marker was placed.

“They are native plants, and they actually have them here in different places (throughout Heritage Park). You just have to find them,” she said.

Hague said that representatives of the Troy-based Michigan Blue Star Mothers 198 were invited to come out and celebrate the day.

“This is their 75th anniversary; we invited their chapter here,” she said, adding that the organization happened upon the memorial dedication event flyer. “That is how they knew about it.”

Michigan Blue Star Mothers 198 Chapter President Carmen Johnson said after the event that she was honored to be asked to attend the event. Johnson, who sported pins indicating indicating her two sons serving in the Coast Guard and the Army, said honoring sacrifice is significant.

“Because as Blue Star mothers, people don’t understand the commitment and the sacrifice (we) have made, and the sacrifice our children have made, and we’re just honored that the city of Farmington Hills has chosen to recognize the Blue Star families in this way, and the Garden Club,” Johnson said.

For more information, go to www.michigangardenclubs.org.