Honoring veterans: Lafayette’s Blue Star Memorial Highway plaque

The 1998 Blue Star Memorial Highway plaque in Lafayette, Colorado.

The late Bill Kellett wrote in “History of Lafayette, Colorado: Treeless Plain to Thriving City,” published in 1990, that Lafayette sent more men and women to the services in WW II per capita than any other city in the country. There are two memorials to these brave young men and women, one in the Lafayette cemetery and one at the northeast corner of U.S. 287 and Baseline Road. The Blue Star Memorial Highway plaque, which recognizes veterans’ service and sacrifice, was placed in 1952 on a fireplace at a roadside rest stop and picnic area that occupied Colorado Highway Dept. (now CDOT) right-of-way. The blue star symbolizes hope and pride.

The Lafayette News reported in Feb. 1998 that the original plaque was stolen or lost during the 1996-1997 widening of U.S. 287. (The King Soopers, which opened in 2005, was built on property owned for 53 years by the McDaniel Family.) Through the efforts of Karen James, Helen Bokan and Arlee Lee (and many other Lafayette VFW Post 1771 folks), the history of the important marker and its associated tribute to veterans was preserved (and not scraped into oblivion), and the Blue Star plaque was recast and rededicated in late 1998.

A history of the Blue Star program, which is still active today, can be found at National Garden Club Blue Star Guidelines (PDF).