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Remembering a 1921 memorial the grove. (News from the World of Trees).

As AMERICAN FORESTS continues its campaign to plant a memorial tree for each victim of September 11th, the organization recently had an opportunity to revisit one of the groves that started it all.

Local Girl Scouts and veterans groups teamed up with AMERICAN FORESTS to honor World War I veterans this Memorial Day, tying ribbons around a grove of trees originally planted more than 80 years ago.

Each of the more than 500 trees, planted by the American Legion and AMERICAN FORESTS beginning in 1921, had a bronze plaque honoring the life of a World War I soldier. It was part of a nationwide tree-planting program that was begun with a ceremonial planting by First Lady Florence Harding, a vice president of AMERICAN FORESTS (then the American Forestry Association).

Some of the original trees still stand, but after years of neglect and vandalism only two of the plaques remain readable, and before this year the significance of one of the nation's first memorial groves had faded into obscurity.

Working with AMERICAN FORESTS, the American Legion and the World War II Veterans Committee, members of three local Girl Scout troops used the ribbon-tying event to help restore the grove's status as a memorial to the soldiers who died in the "War to End All Wars."

AMERICAN FORESTS' Karen Fedor, the head of the Global ReLeaf program, attended the ceremony, bringing along the very trowel used by First Lady Harding at the original planting outside the headquarters of AMERICAN FORESTS.

"Eighty years later, we came full circle," Fedor said.

Katie McDaniel, a 12-year-old Girl Scout from Virginia, told the Washington Times that recent events make it particularly important to remember the sacrifices made in the two World Wars.

"It is nice to be putting ribbons here for people who were actually in those wars," McDaniel said. "It's really important now, especially since we just had September 11th."

Just as it was very influential in beginning the memorial grove concept that swept the nation in the 1920s, AMERICAN FORESTS plans to continue the tradition, honoring the victims of September 11th by planting memorial groves in New York City; Arlington County, Virginia; Somerset County, Pennsylvania; and Washington.

In a program sponsored by Eddie Bauer, AMERICAN FORESTS will plant one tree for each of the victims: 2,893 in New York, 184 near the Pentagon in Virginia, and 40 near the sight of the September 11 plane crash in Pennsylvania. The fourth grove will be planted in the nation's capital as a symbol of the national impact of the tragedy.
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Author:Enloe, Charles
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2002
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