Capt. Lovell helps dedicate Blue Star Memorial marker in Lake Forest

More than 100 people turned out for a Blue Star Memorial Marker dedication at the Telegraph Road Train Station Garden in Lake Forest Thursday morning.

The event featured special guest Captain James Lovell and included a dignified Color Guard ceremony, gun salute and patriotic tunes to dedicate the marker, which recognizes service men and women.

“It’s a pleasure for me to be invited to participate in the dedication of this Memorial Blue Star plaque … to honor the sacrifices and deeds of our armed forces that have actually protected this country for over 230 years,” Lovell told the crowd, many of whom were dressed in uniform or red, white and blue.

“As I speak right now, we have sailors and servicemen, Army and Navy, in about 150 countries throughout the world representing the freedom that this country represents,” Lovell, a Lake Forest resident and retired Navy man and astronaut, said.

The Deerpath Garden Club worked in conjunction with the city of Lake Forest and the McKinlock American Legion Post #264 to install the Blue Star marker at the edge of the club’s memorial garden, planted when the West Lake Forest Train Station opened in 1993 and maintained continually by club members.

 

The Deerpath Garden Club members have contributed their time and talent toward civic beautification projects in Lake Forest for more than 50 years. Adding a memorial to its Telegraph Road garden seemed a fitting tribute, club President Bonita Friedland said.

“We are grateful to the men and women who serve, who have served and who will serve,” Friedland said. “After all, would we have a garden if it wasn’t for them?”

The Blue Star Memorial Marker is a project of National Garden Clubs Inc. and serves as a tribute to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces ­— past, present and future. The memorial is reminiscent of the blue star service flags handmade by mothers across the nation and displayed in the front windows of each house to indicate a child or loved one in service.

“There are currently over 2,700 markers across the United States. We’re happy to add one more to that list,” said Mary Carlson, garden club committee co-chairman.

The Lake Forest Blue Star marker is positioned along the entrance to the West Lake Forest Train Station parking lot atop newly planted boxwoods, donated by Craig Bergmann Landscape Design of Lake Forest, among a stand of small trees.

“We put it there for a reason,” Friedland said. “Every car, every bus, every taxi that turns into this driveway will be reminded.”

McKinlock Post Commander Tom Marks said he hopes the memorial will remind all who pass “that we need our men and women in uniform who do and will continue to defend our nation so that 250 years from now free people can gather here and say, ‘It is a beautiful place, a peaceful place and a free nation.’”

Connie Maines, garden club co-chair of the event, led the official dedication.

“We are here today to pay tribute to our armed forces,” she said. “While we go about our daily lives or while we sleep, the men and women in our armed forces fly our skies, sail our seas, and guard our shores ensuring our safety, our democracy and our freedom.”

The marker, “stands as a symbol for all to see lest we forget those who helped to keep us free,” she said.

Lake Forest Mayor Donald Schoenheider thanked the garden club and guests for helping to make the memorial tribute so special.

“We live in an extraordinary place, this city we call home, and we also live in an incredible country, a country that values more than anything its freedom. That freedom is never given, it’s earned,” Schoenheider said.

The mayor thanked the service members for “their sacrifice and all they have done to keep us safe.”

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