In honor of the event, Milan Mayor Richard Maloney issued and presented a proclamation to the club president Sharon Robinson. The marker was unveiled by Gertie Buggele and Braley Heckleman, club committee co-chairpersons, and accepted by village administrator Brian Rospert.
Speaker Jo’C Walker, northern district Blue Star chairman of the Garden Club Ohio Inc., shared the history of placing memorial markers across the nation in a club initiative. Originally placed to honor World War II veterans, they expanded the mission to include all who have served, are serving or would be serving in the United States military. This is the 72nd memorial placed in Ohio.
Retired Air Force Col. Diane Moyer and Navy veterans George Gottwald, Jay Johns and 92-year-old Max Friend, all Milan residents, shared their experiences of their time serving the country. Friend shared his experiences serving during World War II as a crew member and rescue spotter on a sea plane off the coast of Saipan in the Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Vocal soloist Christine Sholes sang a beautiful rendition of “God Bless America.” The Edison High School marching band performed patriotic music and “Taps.” Boy Scout troop 214 handled the presentation of colors.
Local support for the memorial project came from American Legion Auxiliary Post 527, the Milan Lions Club, Milan Rotary Club and Blue Star Mothers.
The Blue Star memorial program began in 1944 by the planting of 8,000 trees in New Jersey as a living memorial to veterans of WW II. In 1945, the National Council of State Garden Clubs adopted it and began a Blue Star highway system that covers thousands of miles across the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii. Memorial markers, such as the one in Milan, have been added to the program.