Blue Star Highway Marker
Backstory and Context
Dedicated on May 11, 1976, sponsored by the Green Thumb Garden Club and Winnebago County Board [there was a Garden Club - Green Thumb Garden Club of Rockford that was dropped from Garden Clubs of Illinois, Inc. on 9/13/1993]. Violet Dawson GCI president at that time and now deceased, provided a photograph, on the back of the picture, it is written, Military members, Blue Star Marker dedication, Rockford, Il, 11/11/1976.
On November 4, 1970, Illinois Route 2 was designated a Blue Star Memorial Highway. IL Route 2 located between Byron, IL and Rockford, IL follows along the Rock River. It is a scenic 10.5 mile stretch of roadway that winds along the Rock River. Blue Star Memorial Highways are highways in the United States that are marked to pay tribute to the U.S. armed forces. The National Council of State Garden Clubs, now known as National Garden Clubs, Inc., started the program in 1945 after World War II. The blue star was used on service flags to denote a service member fighting in the war. 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. This program has been active all through the years and has since been expanded to include Memorial Markers and Memorial By-ways (since 1994). These markers are used in National Cemeteries, parks, veterans’ facilities, and gardens.
Information on the Veterans Hall marker was found in the Garden Cub of Illinois 50th Anniversary book, published in 1977. The marker was listed as: Special Community, Memorial Hall, by the Green Thumb Garden Club of Winnebago County, May 24, 1976. Since it was a "Special Community" marker, I imagine the veterans groups or the Veterans Hall contributed to the cost of the marker. Sometimes the dedication dates were changed after the markers were ordered.Re-installed at its present location in July of 2017.