The Blue Star Memorial Program honors men and women that serve in the United States Armed Services with large metal markers across thousands of miles in the United States.
More than 40 have been placed across North Carolina, including 13 at rest areas and welcome centers. In 1978, the N.C. Board of Transportation provided that local garden clubs could request approval by the N.C. Department of Transportation to put up Blue Star Markers.
Nationally, the Blue Star Memorial Program began in 1944 with the New Jersey Council of Garden Clubs planting 8,000 dogwood trees dedicated to World War II veterans. The following year, the National Council of State Garden Clubs adopted the program – named for the blue star in the service flag, which hung in windows of homes and businesses to honor service men and women.
Over the years, the program extended to highway markers and began to recognize all men and women who had served in the U.S. military.
Blue Star Memorial Locations