A large American flag was draped from Troutville Volunteer Fire Department’s new Ladder 2 as a backdrop to Sunday’s Blue Star Memorial dedication.
Photo by Ed McCoy

A large American flag flew on the outskirts of Troutville Town Park Sunday afternoon when the Fincastle Garden Club and Big Spring Garden Club joined that community in unveiling and dedicating a Blue Star Memorial By-Way marker in the newly developed Veterans Monument in the park.

Three veterans unveiled the Blue Star Memorial at the base of the new flagpole in the area set aside to honor the community’s and country’s veterans.

Raymond Whitlock, a former corporal in the Marine Corps; Sharon Smith, a former PFC in the Army, and Chad Paderick, a former corporal in the Marine Corp, pulled the cover from the memorial at the close of a ceremony.

VFW Post 1841 Commander Louis Silcox and former Air Force Staff Sergeant Debbie Day placed a wreath at the marker.

After the close, a parade of individuals and families at the ceremony then took turns taking pictures of the memorial and with it.

Troutville Town Council member and Marine Corps veteran Dean Paderick told the dozens at the ceremony that the Bible provides guidance for recognizing veterans. He quoted Ephesians, Galatians and finally John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”

Veterans Day was originally set as Armistice Day in 1938 to honor the end of World War I, November 11, 1918, Paderick told the gathering. It was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all those who served. “Our service today is to honor this tradition and thank God for this privilege,” he continued.

“The military men and women who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life: they are parents, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors and coworkers, and are an important part of their communities,” he said.

He noted there are 16.1 million living veterans who served during at least one war; 6 million served in peacetime, 2 million are women, and over 3 million are dealing with service-connected disabilities.

He went through the numbers of men and women who served and died in American foreign wars since the Revolutionary War.

“These are not all the lives that have been lost in our battle for freedom,” he said. “The sad truth is that over one and a half million men and women veterans lost their lives, and over one and a half million have been wounded, and over 40,000 are missing in action.”

Paderick closed his tribute to the military by telling the gathering, “We must continue to recognize these men and women for their service as they are the true stewards that protect us from those that desire to nullify us of these freedoms we enjoy and are entitled to.

“This Blue Star Memorial is a true tribute to our beliefs and our thanks for our veterans.”

Shirley Mullins, president of the Fincastle Garden Club, welcomed the gathering and club member Paige Ware gave a history of the Blue Star Memorial through the National Garden Clubs.

The Troutville memorial is the second in Botetourt. The Fincastle Garden Club dedicated the first one in Eagle Rock Memorial Day Weekend.