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Historic Trees: the Nimitz oak.

Mid-1942 was a time of epic sacrifice for most Americans. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor some six months

Worse yet, American forces were surrendering by the tens of thousands on Batnan and Corregidor. At home, 110,000 Japanese-Americans were being imprisoned in war camps, and sugar and gas rationing was getting under way.

But in April of '42, Col. James H. Doolittle led his daring air shake against Tokyo, giving new hope to Americans everywhere, and Navy Adm. Chester W. Nimitz was

elevated to commander-in-chief of Pacific Coast areas--a post from which he would lead American forces in the greatest naval comeback in military history.

Not surprisingly, trees played a crucial role in that victory. Trees had figured prominently in every battle since the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired from behind a tree to start the American Revolution on April 19, 1775. And the U.S. Navy had whole forests set aside for building ships.

Wood was used in everything from PT boats and minesweepers to gliders and airplane propellers, and the Japanese were eventually to surrender on the wood-planked decks of the battleship Missouri.

Nimitz admired the beauty and benefits of trees. In 1950, the war hero--by then the top man in the U.S. Navy--christened a huge old white oak at Spiegel Grove, the Freemont, Ohio, home of Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th president of the U.S.

Spiegel Grove is home to many regal trees honoring famous Americans. Among them: William H. Taft, Gen. Philip Sheridan, and Warren G. Harding. Other trees stand there in recognition of World War 1I heros Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Gen. Stanley Maltherus.

All those trees are among the 1,600 recognized for their special significance under the American Forestry Association's Famous & Historic Trees project. Young trees grown from seeds or cuttings from the mature trees are being prepared for planting as living tributes to their namesakes.

This year many ceremonies and memorials are being planned in recognition of the 50th anniversary of World War II. What better way to pay tribute to a war hero than to plant another of his own trees in his honor?

Details about obtaining young trees grown from the seeds of the Admiral Nimitz white oak--or any tree linked to a hero or event--can be obtained by calling 800-677-0727. Or write Famous & Historic Trees, 8555 Plurnmer Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32219.
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Title Annotation:AFA Programs; preserving the tree named after Navy Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
Author:Ruck, Dan
Publication:American Forests
Date:May 1, 1992
Previous Article:Wandering souls & disappearing forests.
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