WARNER ROBINS -- Patriotic songs can stir the heartstrings of an audience, and this was true at the dedication of a Blue Star Marker honoring servicemen and women at the Museum of Aviation Friday morning.
Staff Sgt. Vanessa Wilson sang the national anthem while the choir from Central High School performed three moving pieces of music. Keynote speaker Retired Maj. Gen. Cornelius Newt Nugteren was choked up when he began to address the crowd.
They know how to turn my emotion button on, he said.
The former commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base from 1982-88 was proud to display the 142nd Blue Star Marker in Georgia -- the first in Houston County.
An estimated 11 million people have visited the museum since its inception, and Nugteren said another 11 million would now be able to see the marker that honors men and women in the armed forces.
The markers were first introduced in New Jersey in 1945 by the National Council of State Garden Clubs. Jan Thiese, Blue Star Marker chairwoman with the Garden Club of Georgia Inc., said the idea for putting the sign at the museum had been around for several years.
I just felt there was no more perfect place, she said.
The marker stands outside of Hangar One. A wreath was placed in front, although the local garden club will not plant anything around the sign, as requested by the museum to keep the grounds simple.
There are more than 2,300 markers in the continental U.S. as well as Alaska and Hawaii alongside highways, historical sites and museums.
With the marker, it means everything, said Taz Morgan who is president of the Warner Robins chapter of the U.S. Military Vets Motorcycle Club. The marker serves as a reminder of service and goes hand-in-hand with the clubs mission of establishing a sense of pride in being a military person.
Morgan, who served in Desert Storm, and his fellow members are all either former military or are currently serving.
The sign will serve as a tribute.
Its here for everyone to see what a great service our military members do for our country, Thiese said.