Honoring Sacrifice: Libertyville's Blue Star Marker Garden Renewal

On a bright May morning, in a lead-up to Memorial Day, the Town & Country Garden Club, in conjunction with the village of Libertyville, the VFW and the American Legion, and with planting help from members of Garden Club of Central Lake County, removed and replaced the landscaping around the Blue Star Marker in Cook Park.

According to the National Garden Clubs Inc., Blue Star Memorial markers are a tribute to the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces. Since the program began over 70 years ago, more than 3,000 Blue Star markers have been dedicated across the country. Libertyville’s marker was installed in 2009. The original plantings were struggling as the surrounding trees matured, creating a need for a more shade-friendly installation.

A team lead by Risé Barkhoff, TCGC Second Vice President, U.S. Navy Veteran and Master Gardener, created a design and worked with the village for permissions and support. The club provided funding through proceeds from the Hidden Gems Garden Walk; the VFW and American Legion contributed to the renovation as well.

The village of Libertyville, under the guidance of Superintendent of Public Works David Thornborough, facilitated the procurement of materials, coordinated the planting day logistics, provided labor and spearheaded additional bed renovations within Cook Park. This partnership between community organizations and local government epitomizes the spirit of collective action and community responsibility of those who have served their country.

Town & Country Garden Club members, village workers and other volunteers planted park beds with pollinator-friendly shrubs and plants in Libertyville's Cook Park. Courtesy of Ann Baker

However, the commitment to enhancing Cook Park didn't end with the Blue Star Marker garden. TCGC members, village workers and other volunteers extended their green thumbs to plant several park beds with pollinator-friendly shrubs and plants, enriching the local ecosystem and the beauty of the village square.

The transformation of the Blue Star Marker garden in Cook Park serves as more than just a beautification project; it's a poignant reminder of the enduring gratitude owed to the men and women who have safeguarded the nation's freedoms. Through collaborative efforts and a shared sense of duty, Libertyville honors its veterans not just on Memorial Day but every day, ensuring their sacrifices are never forgotten.

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