More than 100 people gathered outside the Ahwatukee Board of Management offices on Saturday to witness the unveiling and dedication of the Blue Star Memorial in honor of United States veterans.

The memorial, which will have a permanent home just outside the ballpark at 48th Street and Warner Road, is one of many Blue Star Memorial markers across the country. The markers honor those who are serving as well as those who have served.

Mayor Greg Stanton was a special guest speaker at the dedication.

“As mayor of all of the city of Phoenix, today is a great day for all of us,” Stanton said. “What an honor for all of us to have such a beautiful memorial in our midst. A lot of thank you’s have gone out today but all of us are here, most importantly, to say thank you to the men and women who have served us as Americans and we should never forget any one of them.”

The Desert Pointe Garden Club organized fundraising for the marker and was helped along the way by Modern Woodmen and various community members who purchased memorial pavers to be placed at the site. The Ahwatukee Board of Management donated the space as well as in-kind labor to build the memorial. For Robert Blakesley, general manager of the Ahwatukee Board of Management, it was a very personal commitment. His father, George Blakesley, was a U.S. Marine.

“My father was known for his smile, respect for people, and a love of life,” he said. “That love of life came from his experience in the South Pacific as a young man. When I had a negative experience in my life he would tell me as long as the grass is green and the sun is shining, life is good. Our lives are good, born on the backs of those who serve this country.”

The memorial stands on a marble pedestal in the middle of a lifted flowerbed at 4700 E. Warner Road. A small patio surrounds the flowerbed, with memorial pavers dedicated to those who have served.

The pavers are still being sold through the Desert Pointe Garden Club. Funds from the pavers will go toward future projects the garden club takes on.

For more information on the pavers or to purchase one, email or call Judy Tolbert at (480) 961-1768.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

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