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Garden clubs restore faded marker

FARMINGTON – The Blue Star Memorial in Long Park is no longer faded.

Members of the local garden clubs have made sure the marker will again serve as a bright and more colorful tribute to those who have served the country.

Lois Johns, director of the Southeast District Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri, said the blue marker was originally placed at a roadside park near Cherokee Pass, about 10 miles from Farmington in 1952.

The Blue Star Memorial Project was started by New Jersey Garden Clubs in 1944. Garden clubs thought the markers would be fitting memorials to the armed services who fought for our country. The name was taken from the blue star in the service flag placed in the windows of families who had one or more family members serving in World War I.

Due to vandalism, including a few bullet holes, the marker was moved from Cherokee Pass to Long Park in Farmington in 1965.

More than a year ago, the Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri Inc. and the Farmington Council of Garden Clubs started looking into refurbishing the marker.

&#8220All the color was gone, you couldn’t even tell what it was,” Johns said.

They received a grant through Principal Financial Group to fund the project and the refurbishing project was complete this summer.

Garden club members held a dedication ceremony Saturday afternoon. About 70 people attended.

Judy Sheets explained the spot in Long Park is a special place. It also marks the Cherokee Trail Roadside Park and serves as the Opal Quesnel Memorial Garden.

Jimmie Meinhart, Missouri Blue Star co-chairperson, thanked each of the veterans there for her freedom. She told others in the crowd that freedom is not free, it is &#8220bought for us” by everyone who has had the courage to serve in the military.

Farmington Mayor Jim Bullis said he was honored to accept the marker on behalf of the city and was humbled by the sacrifice it represents.

State Rep. Brad Robinson, D-Bonne Terre, said Americans can’t forget our defenders because they are the backbone of America. He said it is a time to be united in support of the troops.

Blue markers can be found today along highways, in parks, cemeteries and veterans’ homes across the country. By the end of the year, there will be 42 in Missouri, Meinhart said. Another marker will be dedicated in Bloomsdale today.

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