Daffy-Jills Garden Club holds Blue Star Highway Memorial rededication

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2017

COLUMBUS – The Daffy-Jills Garden Club sponsored a Blue Star Highway Memorial Marker rededication on Monday, April 3 at the N.C. Welcome Center off I-26 in Columbus on the 40th anniversary of the marker’s dedication in 1977.

The New Jersey Council of Garden Clubs started the Blue Star Memorial Program in 1944 when they planted 8,000 dogwood trees as a memorial to veterans of WWII, according to Nancy Hiley, president of the Daffy-Jills Garden Club.

Hiley explained the Daffy-Jills initially dedicated the marker in September 1977 at the I-26 welcome center coming into North Carolina before Exit 67. The Blue Star became an icon in WWII and was seen on flags and banners in homes, churches and businesses for sons and daughters away at war.

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Since then, the program has expanded to include all men and women who have either served or will serve in the armed services, Hiley explained.

Members of the Polk County Honor Guard were present at the rededication of the Blue Star Highway Memorial marker. Members include Bevin Corbin, Michael Collins, Morton Poliakoff, Charles Davis, John Magee, Gail Benner and Robert Holycross. (Photos by Michael O’Hearn)

“This means a lot to all of us that we had the opportunity to recognize and show our respect for the Armed Forces, past and present,” Hiley said at the rededication. “It means a lot, it’s an important thing to do and we’re honored to be a part of it.”

Members of the Daffy-Jills, Columbus Town Council members, Columbus Town Manager Tim Barth, Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples, Polk County Commissioner Tommy Melton, and Polk County Honor Guard veterans were present at the rededication.

Garden Club of North Carolina District 1 Director Mary Reeves, also a member of the Daffy-Jills Garden Club, said the marker is a “small token of recognition and appreciation” to veterans who have served to protect the country.

“We go about our daily lives, and while we sleep and while we eat, whatever we do, we forget that we are being protected,” Reeves emphasized. “Every day, every minute, every night by guarding our shores, our sky and our land. This monument is just a small token of recognition and appreciation that these folks stand ready to leave their families to protect us.”

Tryon United Methodist Church Rev. Phillip M. Hurst led the group in prayer and thanked the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Daffy-Jills Garden Club for making the restoration possible.

“We remember the memorial’s purpose and ask for protection of those who are serving us today, our nation and their families,” Hurst said. “We also remember, with deepest gratitude, those who have served and given up their lives. May the many travelers who pass this way for years also be reminded of the sacrifices made on behalf of our nation and our way of life.”