By Chad Ruiz
St. Tammany News
That’s how best to describe Mandeville jeweler Anne Dale.
While sitting in one of the plush chairs in her jewelry shop at 12 Saint Ann Drive, she cradles a sterling silver star pendant close to her heart as she professes her dedication to the service personnel who have and are serving in the U.S. military.
Tears collect in her eyes when she defines our role as Americans.
“If the decision is made to go to war, as Americans, we are obligated to support our soldiers who are fighting for our freedom,” she said.
To honor military personnel, her latest addition to her Anne Dale’s Jeweler for a Cause Collection is the Silver Star of Hope.
She said the collection contains about 10 handcrafted jewelry pins or pendants that promote different themes, including several New Orleans pieces, a self-esteem pendant and now the newest member, the Silver Star of Hope.
The collection is for a cause, because a percentage of the proceeds from each piece is gathered and donated to various nonprofit organizations.
She handed over the silver pendant while explaining the meaning behind the solid sterling silver star brandishing a bow attached to its middle.
She said the star represents the Silver Star which is the third highest award given for valor to a member of any branch of the armed forces. The bow symbolizes the yellow ribbon which, when displayed, is a sign of loyalty for loved ones participating in the military.
“Some have cried,” she said, recalling some of the emotions expressed when people saw her pendant for the first time after it reached the shelf earlier this year.
She extracted a small slip of paper from the nearby case of the pendant.
“Each star comes with this,” she said, describing a poem titled “The Soldier” written by Father Dennis Edward O’Brien.
“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
Made in the U.S.A., the can be purchased in Dale’s store, online at www.annedale.com or at one of more than 40,000 retail jewelers nationwide as a pendant, to wear as a necklace or bracelet or as a pin.
A portion of the proceeds from each star gets deposited into Dale’s fund until enough is collected to distribute to an organization devoted to helping soldiers or veterans.
Dale said their most recent donations using monies earned included giving to the nonprofit organizations Support Our War Heroes and Soldiers’ Angels.
Since the star was created, Dale has received an autographed picture and thank you letter from First Lady Laura Bush.
Dale said they have sold nearly 300 stars to date and average five to 10 purchases per day.