Approved in November, a World War I memorial willow oak tree was planted Friday afternoon on the Logan County Courthouse lawn in Booneville.
Friday’s ceremony was held despite weather conditions and was attended by Logan County Veteran’s Serivce Officer Randall Zimmer; Logan County elected officials including Judge Ray Gack,Shannon Cotton and Brittany Rogers; Arkansas Forestry Commission employees Dustin Krigbaum and TJ Yarborough; and county employees.
The Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee and the Arkansas Forestry Commission are partners in the project to place trees in all 75 counties in the state before the centennial observance of the Great War concludes at the end of 2018.
Through the program, the Arkansas Forestry Commission has donated a two-year old willow oak to an organization in each county that will plant the tree in a public location and see that it is cared for. The WWI Committee also provided soil from the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France to be included in the planting.
The memorial trees will be included on the Committee’s website at http://www.wwiarkansas.com/sites-memorials.html.
In the years following the end of WWI in 1918, memorial trees were planted all over the world to remember the millions who perished during the war. More than 71,000 Arkansans served in the war, and 2,183 died.
“Arkansans fought on the land, at sea and in the skies to defend the people of France and Belgium. Soldiers, sailors and Marines from Arkansas were involved in some of the fieriest fighting of the way, including the first fight between American and German troops,” said WWI Centennial Commemoration Committee chairman Shawn Fisher.
At least one stand of WWI memorial trees still exists in Arkansas, a small grove of holly trees on the campus of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.
For more information on Arkansas’s commemoration of World War I, visit http://www.wwiarkansas.com/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee is part of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.