Garden club dedicates memorial

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

The Tidewater District of the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs dedicated a Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker at the Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans’ Cemetery Tuesday morning.

“Very few of our citizens take time to stop and think what our country is all about,” said Major General (ret.) Aaron Lilley.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, that gives us freedom of the press,” Lilley said, while also thanking the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs for the memorial.

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“It’s important that an organization such as this have memorials such as this because all too often our people tend to forget our veterans.”

More than 20 Blue Star Memorials are placed in Virginia and the marker unveiled Tuesday is the third in the Tidewater region.

Beginning in 1996, Blue Star Markers began being placed at veteran cemeteries and veterans’ medical facilities.

Suffolk Mayor Bobby L. Ralph said, “let us hope that markers and commemorations such as this remind us, especially in times such as these, of the courage of the men and women who have served.”

Blue Star Memorials were first conceived after World War II and signify the blue star on the Service Flag that honors men and women in the Armed Forces.

The markers are projects of the National Council of State Garden Clubs and now have come to recognize and honor all service members.

“It is a symbol here,” said Nancy Hargroves, president of the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, “lest we forget all those who have served for this nation.”

“It is for those who have served, are currently serving, and those who will serve in the future,” Hargroves said.

Sgt. Matthew Samlick, who has served in the Army in Korea and Iraq, and is currently at Fort Story, said, “It makes us even more proud and committed to continue with our service.”

“We should be humble of our freedom, and always appreciative of the men and women who have made that freedom possible,” said Lilley.

“At the same time though, we should be happy on a day like this.”

Funds for the marker have been donated by the garden clubs of the Tidewater District of the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs.

The memorial will be the centerpiece of a large flower garden on the cemetery grounds.

Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans’ Cemetery is located at 5310 Milners Road.