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Blue Star Memorial marker at Jerusalem Mill honors our armed forces

A Blue Star Memorial marker at Jerusalem Mill Village, the first such tribute in Harford County, recognizes those who served in the armed forces.
A Blue Star Memorial marker at Jerusalem Mill Village, the first such tribute in Harford County, recognizes those who served in the armed forces. (BRYNA ZUMER | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)

The historic Jerusalem Mill Village in Kingsville is home to a new tribute to all those who served in the armed forces: a Blue Star Memorial marker.

The plaque, set atop a stone by the entrance to the Gunpowder Falls State Park headquarters off of Jerusalem Road, is the first such marker in Harford County, Joppatowne Garden Club President Carol Jones said.

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"This has been about a two-year endeavor for our small but mighty Joppatowne Garden Club," Sophia Montgomery said Sunday afternoon, as the marker was unveiled before about 30 people.

Garden clubs around the country have honored men and women in the military with Blue Star Memorials, starting with the creation of a Blue Star highway designation system in 1945.

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According to National Garden Clubs, Inc., "the Blue Star became an icon in World War II and was seen on flags and banners in homes for sons and daughters away at war, and in churches and businesses."

The 27-member Joppatowne Garden Club, which marked its 50th anniversary last year, thanked the Friends of Jerusalem Mill Village for their "enthusiastic participation" in the project, Montgomery said.

The club was happy to have a sunny, if cold, April day for the unveiling, after the region was hit by an unseasonable blast of rain, snow and freezing temperatures earlier this weekend. An earlier dedication was canceled because it was planned the Sunday after January's blizzard.

The stone that the plaque sits on is a riverstone indigenous to the area, Friends of Jerusalem Mill President Rick Decker noted.

Nicki Schwab, president of Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, congratulated the Joppatowne group on a "job well done."

"I was thinking as I was sitting here how special this location is, because it was first purchased as an area by Quakers, who, of course, are very peaceful people, and then I was told there were many skirmishes here during the Civil War," Schwab said about Jerusalem Mill Village.

"Today, it's very special that we are honoring our veterans and thinking about those who strive for peace and pray for peace to come," Schwab said. "They stand ready at a moment's notice to defend our country and we must not forget them."

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks said he loves coming to Jerusalem Mill because there is a special "reverence for this area."

The historic preserved community is at the county line with Baltimore County. Montgomery noted Baltimore County will have its first Blue Star memorial dedication in April, held by the Glen Arm Garden Club.

Three retired members of the military and Joppatowne Garden Club members – former Air Force captain James Morgan, Army SPC. Maria Saldana and Air Force nurse Joan Scovill – laid a wreath at the marker.

Cub Scout Pack 877, of Kingsville's St. Stephen Church, raised the flag at the event and the Rev. Daris Bultena, of Joppatowne's Good Shepherd Church, read opening and closing prayers.

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