ROCKY MOUNT – A Blue Star Memorial Marker, which honors the nation’s military veterans, has a new home in Nash County where potentially more than 850,000 annual visitors will see it.
On Friday, the Rocky Mount Garden Club and the N.C. Department of Transportation joined veterans who rededicated the marker at the Interstate 95 Northbound rest area in Rocky Mount. The marker had been at another location in Rocky Mount.
Gus Tulloss, who serves on the N.C. Board of Transportation, accepted the marker, which is prominently displayed near the flagpole at the rest area.
“This marker is a wonderful tribute to the sacrifices our men and women in the armed forces have made for our country,” Tulloss, a Rocky Mount resident, said during the ceremony.
The marker was relocated from along a stretch of Wesleyan Boulevard (the U.S. 301 Bypass) in Rocky Mount. It was removed two years ago when NCDOT began widening that section of the boulevard. The Rocky Mount Garden Club, which sponsored the marker, had been storing the marker until a better location – one where people could more easily stop to read it and take pictures – was identified.
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. The program eventually extended to highway markers to recognize all people who served in the U.S. military. North Carolina's first Blue Star Memorial Highway was approved for U.S. 301 in 1949, with its marker dedicated in Fayetteville in 1956.
To learn more about the markers in North Carolina, visit this NCDOT page.