Military feature: Local woman oversees military tribute installation

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo New Mexico Garden Club Member Bess Kline, left, and the New Mexico visitor information center supervisor Janice Hamilton, right, joined forces to place a Blue Star Memorial marker at the visitor information center on U.S. 60/84.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Bess Kline said she has been working about 10 years to get a veterans memorial marker in town.

In March, her dream of installing a Blue Star Memorial Highway marker pulled through and next month the New Mexico Garden Club will dedicate a 3-foot-by-4-foot highway marker at the New Mexico Visitor Center along U.S. Highway 60/84.

A member of the New Mexico Garden Club, Kline said she has worked to get the marker in memory of her husband, John Roland Kline Sr. She said her husband, who died in 1997, served in the Air Force for 21 years. The blue star markers are a tribute to veterans and active duty military.

A project of the National Garden Club, the memorial markers are related to the blue star flags mothers of servicemen and servicewomen displayed in front of their homes during World War II, according to Kline, who is also a member of the New Mexico Garden Club.

There are about 1,800 markers across the country and about a dozen in New Mexico, according to National Garden Club Blue Star Chairwoman Jimmie Meinhardt.

“The VFWs and the American Legion, they all chipped in and have really been responsive to help bring this program to Clovis,” she said.

Kline has two sons who served in Iraq.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3280 Post Commander Vernon Luce said having a marker locally is an honor.

“It was an icon in World War II,” he said.

He said the blue star flags in front of windows were a common sight when he was growing up during WWII and also during the Vietnam War, when he was serving in the navy.

“My mother had them,” he said.

A dedication ceremony for the marker is scheduled for Nov. 9.