The Blue Star Memorial Marker program originated with a New Jersey garden club in 1944 that planted approximately 8, 000 dogwood trees along a 5-1/2 mile stretch of highway as a living memorial to the men and women of the Armed Forces.
The Blue Star was chosen to symbolize the memorial because it was used during World War II on flags and homes of families that had a son or daughter in the service. At the close of World War II, the National Council, like other public-spirited groups, was seeking a suitable means of honoring servicemen and women.
It was agreed, that as Garden Clubs, it would be better to help beautify and preserve the country the men had fought for than to build stone monuments. The program has since expanded to include all men and women who had served, were serving or would serve in the armed forces of the United States.
Three types of Blue Star Memorial Markers have been adopted: The Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker placed along dedicated highways; Blue Star Memorial Marker placed on other than dedicated Highways, such as National cemeteries or Veterans Medical Centers; and the Blue Star memorial By-Way Marker, which is a plaque intended for garden settings, such as parks and civic and historical grounds.
The marker was unveiled in relation to Veterans Day, which is Wednesday, Nov. 11. The Interlaken ceremony was held Saturday, Nov. 7, at Borough Hall, 100 Grassmere Ave.
The Blue Star project was a yearlong effort of the Grow and Show Garden Club of Interlaken co-chaired by Co-President Christine Papp and Vice President Brenda Wityk. Joan Cichalski, Garden Club of New Jersey Chairperson of the Blue Star Memorial Committee, presented a brief history of the program.David Earl, a member of the Blue Star Memorial Council, accepted the by-way marker on behalf of the state Department of Transportation.
Veterans James Berner, Fred Bruno, Joel Fleming, Oliver Holmes, and Lou Parisi all participated in the ceremony.