The Blue Star Memorial honors the men and women serving in the armed forces, and the Gold Star Memorial honors the families of fallen service members. Both were unveiled under a tree to the northeast of the stadium.
The National Garden Club sponsored the markers, and donations from the American Legion Charles A. Conklin Post 28, businesses and military families helped make the memorial possible.
Ferrysburg Mayor Rebecca Hopp was one of several guest speakers at the afternoon ceremony, which included Blue and Gold Star families as honored guests. The local American Legion’s Honor Guard also participated.
In her speech, Hopp noted that she had a long family history of military service — from her great-grandfather, father-in-law, father and nephew. She thanked the garden club for its continued commitment to creating a lasting tribute to those in the armed forces and those who paid the ultimate price to protect freedom.
“This memorial holds a special place for our residents and visitors to reflect and to remember all the men and women in the service,” she said.
Grand Haven Mayor Geri McCaleb also spoke at the ceremony. “Let it be a remembrance for us, and for our children, that we never forget,” she said.
Other speakers included Spring Lake Village President Mark Powers, and the new commander of Coast Guard Sector Field Office Grand Haven, Lt. Brian Howard. Michigan Garden Clubs President Carol Brodbeck dedicated the new memorials.
RELATED: Photo Gallery: Blue, Gold Star memorial dedication
There are 95 highway and byway memorials throughout Michigan. Grand Haven is the 96th Blue Star Memorial, and has the first Gold Star marker in the state.
About 3,500 memorials are in place throughout the country. So far this summer, five memorials have been dedicated and two more are slated for this fall.
The National Garden Club started the memorials as a tribute after World War II. Over the years, the tribute grew from planting dogwood trees to highway and byway memorials.