Charlotte - The state's newest Blue Star Memorial Marker was dedicated at a ceremony in Charlotte on Saturday, Oct. 29, sponsored by the Charlotte Council of Garden Clubs and District III of the North Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution.
On behalf of the Department of Transportation, Division 10 Engineer Louis Mitchell accepted the marker that will stand at the North Carolina Welcome Center off I-77 North near mile marker 1 in southern Mecklenburg County. Mitchell, who serves a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, offered perspective on the Blue Star's significance, both as an NCDOT employee and as a veteran, pledging that the Division would care for the marker and its surrounding landscaping.
The Blue Star Memorial Program was founded in 1944 when the New Jersey Council of Garden Clubs planted 8,000 dogwood trees to honor World War II veterans. The program is based on the Blue Star Flag, displayed by families who have relatives serving in the military during war or other armed hostilities. North Carolina's first Blue Star Memorial Highway was approved for U.S. 301 in 1949, with its marker dedicated in Fayetteville in 1956.
More than 200,000 visitors stop at the I-77 Welcome Center each year, and the Marker has a prominent place near the entrance. For a guide to all Blue Star Memorial Markers in North Carolina, visit https://www.ncdot.gov/programs/environmental/bluestar/.