Tree Project Honors Arkansans Who Died In World War I

Sep 26, 2017

In 1919, this ring of holly trees was planted in Arkadelphia as a living memorial to honor Henderson State University Doughboys who died during the conflict.

A new effort aims to provide a living memorial to the Arkansans who died during World War I.

A memorial tree project is underway by the Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee in partnership with the state Forestry Commission. The goal is to place a tree in every county in Arkansas.

In the years following the end of World War I in 1918, memorial trees were planted all over the world. Mark Christ with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program says the only surviving trees in Arkansas from that program appear to be five holly trees at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

Christ says the first tree was just planted at the Old Statehouse Museum in Little Rock. The trees are being planted with soil from a World War I cemetery in France.

The Committee is urging partnerships of local governments, Scout troops, American Legion posts, public libraries and others to sponsor and plant a WWI memorial tree in a public park, courthouse square or other appropriate location during the centennial commemoration in 2017-2018.

"Arkansas is full of wonderful communities and civic groups who share pride in an opportunity to memorialize WWI Veterans through this program," says Arkansas State Forester Joe Fox. "We are honored to donate trees and commit time from Arkansas Forestry Commission staff members across the state as a long lasting token of our appreciation to these great men and women."

To serve as a partner for placement of a WWI Memorial Tree, potential partners should complete an application.