A 1954 feature in the Bath Independent highlights when the original Blue Highway Memorial marker was dedicated in Bath. Contributed / Bath Garden Club

The Bath Garden Club held a rededication ceremony for the circa-1954 Bath Blue Star Memorial Highway marker Sept. 9, following a two-year project to refurbish the national designation and reinstall it at the Bath Regional Information Center on Commercial Street.

A two-year timeline of the marker refurbishing and garden restoration, which included recognition of all the community partners that contributed to the project, was cited by Pam LaJeunesse, Bath Garden Club immediate past president and Blue Star Highway Marker Project coordinator. Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Dillon shared his appreciation of Blue Star Memorial Highway markers at the ceremony as a reminder of the sacrifices made to protect American freedoms. Navy Master Chief Roger Dumont reflected on the markers as a deep acknowledgement of thanks to U.S. service members, families of service members and veterans. A ceremonial wreath was placed by LaJeunesse and Bath Garden Club President Joan Toy. In closing, “Taps” was performed on the bugle by Air Force veteran Jeff McAllister.

The Bath Blue Star marker in its new location at Bath Regional Information Center. Contributed / Bath Garden Club

“The marker has been returned to a place of pride and visibility,” said Julie Rice of the Bath Garden Club in a prepared release. “It will serve as a lasting tribute to our service men and women. The Bath Garden Club is grateful for the support and assistance of many community partners.”

According to the statement, the marker had been stored at Bath Public Works for over a decade after it was removed during highway reconstruction at an unspecified date along Route 1, a designated Blue Star Memorial Highway.

Speakers at the dedication of the Bath Blue Star Memorial Highway marker include, from left, Pam LaJeunesse of Bath Garden Club, Ret. Navy Master Chief Roger Dumont, Ret. Air Force Brig. Gen. Frank Dillon, Linda Rodman and Harriet Robinson of the Garden Club Federation of Maine, and Bath Garden Club President Joan Toy. Contributed / Bath Garden Club

In 2017, a Woolwich resident contacted the Bath Garden Club to try to find the marker and put it back in service. LaJeunesse was able to locate the marker at Bath Public Works, after which the club facilitated the refurbishing and reinstallment project. The project also included extensive landscaping of the surrounding garden.

The Bath Blue Star Highway Marker project was awarded the Spirit of Bath award from the city in October 2020 and a certificate of recognition from the Garden Club Federation of Maine in June 2021.

On Oct. 19, 1954, the Cosmopolitan Garden Club of Bath, in cooperation with the Garden Club Federation of Maine and the Maine State Highway Department, installed the Blue Star Highway marker at the intersection of Floral Street and Route 1 in Bath.

The Blue Star Program was started during WWII in 1945 by the New Jersey Garden Club as a living memorial to veterans of World War II. The Blue Star was used on service flags to denote a service member fighting in the war. Over 8,000 dogwood trees were planted along a 5-mile section of a New Jersey turnpike and a marker design was created. The Blue Star Highway system now covers thousands of miles across the United States. In 1951, the Blue Star Program enlarged its mission to include all people who had served, were serving or would serve in the United States.