Memorial marker unveiled to honor veteransPublished 10:07am Wednesday, November 11, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
City officials, members of area law enforcement and countless community figures gathered at the intersection of South 11th Street and Main Tuesday morning to recognize America’s veterans and unveil a new historical marker for the city.
Police blocked off lanes surrounding the garden at the center of the intersection as the Niles Garden Club presented a special program, placement and dedication of the Blue Star Memorial High Way marker honoring the nation’s armed forces.
“Take a look around you,” said Al Pscholka, speaking on behalf of Congressman Fred Upton. “We would not be sitting here today if it were not for the many sacrifices by the veterans present in the audience.”
Pscholka was just one of the featured speakers for the event, which included remarks by Mayor Mike McCauslin, Ron Sather, executive director of the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce, Margo Schebel of Blue Star Moms, members of the Michigan Garden Clubs Inc. and representatives of local area veterans groups.
The event took place on the same day many celebrated the birthday of the United States Marine Corps which began in 1775 and just hours before President Barack Obama also spoke about the sacrifices of America’s servicemen and women while on a visit to Fort Hood, Texas, where a massacre occurred on base Thursday.
Veterans Day, the president said, “is a chance to pause, and to pay tribute; for students to learn the struggles that preceded them; for families to honor the service of parents and grandparents; for citizens to reflect upon the sacrifices that have been made in pursuit of a more perfect union.
“For history is filled with heroes,” Obama said. “You may remember the stories of a grandfather who marched across Europe; an uncle who fought in Vietnam; a sister who served in the Gulf. But as we honor the many generations who have served, all of us – every single American – must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who’ve come before.”
Pscholka also recognized those families who are still grieving for those loved ones lost at the military base last week.
“We have an especially heavy heart today with the tragic events at Fort Hood,” he said. “Words cannot express the profound grief and sadness with such a senseless act of violence.”
As many stood and listened to each of the presentation’s speakers, the new marker waited, cloaked in red wrapping while area veterans stood at attention and awaited its unveiling.
The event was just the beginning of many services taking place today to recognize America’s servicemen and women.
Niles Community Schools will host veterans who will tell their stories to classrooms of younger generations experiencing life in yet another wartime and some will host luncheons for students and visiting vets.
The Niles Garden Club said “the Blue Star Memorial Marker program of the National Garden Clubs, Inc. began in 1945 to honor the men and women serving in the Armed Forces during World War II. The name was chosen for the star on the flags displayed in homes and businesses denoting a family member serving.”
Designation of Blue Star Highways, the club also stated, “was achieved through petitions to the state legislatures and cooperation with the Departments of Transportation. A uniform marker was designed to identify the highways. The Blue Star Memorial Program grew to extend thousands of miles across the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii. All men and women who have served, are serving, or will serve in the Armed Forces of the United States are honored.”