Livonians unveil ‘Blue Star’ marker
Over 100 people turned out on a sunny Saturday morning for the dedication of the Blue Star Memorial By-Way July 16 in the village of Livonia.
Stressing the importance of honoring the military veterans, Senator Catherine Young highlighted the reverence with which we as a nation look upon our World War II veterans.
“When you think about the global machine of chaos that was murdering 1000’s of innocents all over the world, it was our troops that rose up and saved the world,” she said.
The senator extolled the efforts and willingness of our servicemen and women to protect our country. “Our freedoms don’t come free, and our veterans understand that very well,” she said.
The senator commended the efforts of the Countryside Garden Club, as well as the Livonia American Legion and VFW, all of which played integral roles in the realization and completion of the memorial.
“It’s things like this that remind our communities of our troops. It’s things like this that don’t let us forget,” said Young.
The memorial borrows the title of “Blue Star” from the Blue Star Mothers of America. Originally founded in 1942, the association acted as a support service for mothers who had sons serving in World War II.
Members would hang a white service flag in their window, with a blue star for each living family member who served in the military, and a gold one for those who had lost their lives during military service.
In 1945, the Blue Star Mothers began the “Blue Star Memorial Marker Program” to specifically recognize and honor men and women serving in World War II.
To this day the tradition continues, and the Blue Star Mothers of America continue to support not only the emotional and physical well being of its members, but also help to spread a general sense of patriotism and national pride in local communities.
Connie Genduso and Barbara Dougherty both of Livonia were the driving force behind the monument’s creation. A presentation by the Blue Star Mothers in March of 2011 inspired the pair to look for a way to bring a measure of continuous remembrance and respect for America’s military veterans to the village of Livonia.
Settling on the idea of a stone memorial, Genduso and Dougherty set about trying to locate a boulder of the proper size.
“We went to different locations trying to find something that would be a good size,” remembers Dougherty.
“A lot were too small, and some were even too big!” After a suggestion from Dennis Palmer of the Livonia Department of Public Works, Genduso and Dougherty sought out a boulder that had sat unused and little appreciated in the Livonia Community Park for years.
Moving the boulder took not one but two backhoes to lift the rock into the bed of a waiting village dump truck.
Both Genduso and Dougherty have a history of family members who served in the military, and as such, the memorial is especially significant to them.
“There has been a definite upswing in the level of pride and respect for veterans over the years,” said Dougherty. “It was much different during Vietnam.”
The monument is across the road from Livonia’s Forrest Vosler park honoring a Congressional Medal of Honor winner from Livonia.