By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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PORT ANGELES — About 50 city officials, residents and veterans braved spitting rain Friday morning for the unveiling of Veterans Memorial Park's newest installation honoring service members.
They were on hand for the dedication of a Blue Star Memorial plaque — honoring past, present and future military service members — by the Port Angeles Garden Club, which presented the memorial to the city.
Honoring their sacrifice
Bernice Cook, in charge of the unveiling ceremonies and chair of the Port Angeles Garden Club's Blue Star Marker committee, said the memorial will stand for all service members and serve as a reminder of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“And that's a very important thing to us,” Cook said after the ceremony.
The dark-gray plaque features a large blue star and the National Garden Clubs logo.
The words “A tribute to the Armed Forces that have defended the United States of America” adorn it in gold lettering.
The marker is one of several memorials already installed at Veterans Memorial Park at 319 S. Lincoln St. next to the Clallam County Courthouse.
Members of American Legion Post 5 stood with American flags around the park in honor of the dedication.
One of 42 in state
Brynn Tavasci, president of the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs, said there are 42 such markers in the state and 2,254 nationwide.
The marker unveiled Friday is part of a 70-year-old National Garden Clubs tradition honoring both current and retired members of the armed forces, he added.
Cook said Port Angeles Garden Club members raised the $1,500 needed to purchase the marker over two years mostly through sales of flower baskets and other plants.
“This was something that everyone in the garden club was involved in,” Cook said.
Port Angeles Mayor Dan Di Guilio said during the ceremony that it was his honor to accept the plaque on behalf of the city.
His extended family has a long history of military service, including a 20-year stint in the military by his son.
“We fully understand the sacrifices that men and women make when they enlist,” Di Guilio said.
Change with seasons
The plaque was installed by city parks workers, and members of the Garden Club planted a red, white and blue primrose garden under the plaque that will be replaced with seasonal flowers throughout the growing season, Cook said.
The Garden Club has agreed to maintain the area immediately around the plaque and plans to keep the small flower garden fresh and seasonal.
Corey Delikat, city parks and recreation director, thanked the Garden Club members for their drive in making the marker a reality and for other ways they help his department, such as planting spring and summer flowers in all the downtown planters.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Arwyn Rice contributed to this report.