Under a blue sky and sunshine, a large group gathered at the North Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Friday morning to attend the Dedication Ceremony of a Blue Star Memorial, a marker honoring the Armed Forces that have defended the United States of America.
The Blue Star Memorial is a large Bronze Blue Star Highway marker that is placed on highways, cemeteries, parks and veterans facilities throughout United States as a tribute to our Armed Forces. The program was adopted in 1945 by the National Council of State Garden Clubs. The blue star became an icon in World War II and was seen on flags and banners in homes for sons and daughters away at war and in churches and businesses.
The ceremony was presented by the Winona Garden Club in cooperation with Thomas Rodney Chapter MSSDAR and the American Legion Post 52-DA V Chapter 54. The following benefactors helped bring to fruition the placement of this marker at the entrance to the cemetery: Bank of Kilmichael, Blakeman Brister and Putman, Dixie Roofing Company, Lamar and Betty Ellis, Andy and Deborah Enis, Maurice and Priss Ferguson, James and Shelley Hunger, Shed and Tammy Hunger, Shed Hunger IV, Kilmichael Lions Club, Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, and John Wayne and Christye VanHorn.
The program was under the leadership of Deborah Enis, president of the Winona Garden Club, who made the introduction of guests, led the Pledge of Allegiance and offered a tribute to Military or Gold Star Families.
The program also included the presentation of colors by Boy Scout Troop 4039 - James Armstrong, Eagle Scout; Webb Blakely, Eagle Scout; and Ricky Lienhart, Life Rank Boy Scout.
The National Anthem was beautifully sung by Arkeveak Gayden, a senior at Montgomery County High School.
Welcome remarks were given by Bobby Howell, Mayor of the Town of Kilmichael, and an invocation was given by Dr. David Sartin, pastor of Kilmichael Baptist Church.
A history of the Blue Star Memorial Marker was given by Nancy Moore of Decatur, Chairman of the Blue Star State Committee of The Garden Clubs of Mississippi, Inc. The unveiling, dedication, acceptance of marker and tribute of flowers addresses were led by Tammy Hunger, regent of the Thomas Rodney Chapter of the Daughter of the American Revolution; First Vice Commander Mark Lawson, American Legion; and Brother Don Sampley, Commander of DAV.
Elizabeth Eldridge, treasurer for Thomas Rodney Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, led the attendees in singing “God Bless America,” and Reverend Johnny Butts delivered the benediction. Bill Herring trumpeted “Taps” during the physical unveiling of the marker.
A light lunch was served at Kilmichael Baptist Church following the ceremony.