Master Gardeners were part of the over 100 patriotic volunteers who gathered on December 8, 2012 at the Chattanooga National Cemetery to plant 80 trees to replace those lost in the area storms over the last few years. Over 110 trees were lost in the past five years due to storms and age, including 55 in just the last year and a half.
The Chattanooga Area Veterans Committee was instrumental in getting approval from the Veterans’ Administration and coordinated the effort with the City of Chattanooga Urban Forestry Department who provided the trees.
The trees are a number of different native species, in keeping with the existing varieties of trees in the Cemetery, and include Oak, Tulip Popular, Redbud, Dogwood, Linden, Eastern Cedar, American Elm, Birch, Holly, and Magnolia.
Noah Long, a Master Gardener, is the coordinator of the tree planting and past chair of the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council (CAVC). “Many of the trees in the cemetery are 100 to 125 years old and are reaching the end of their normal lifespans. The replacement trees will help preserve the feeling of serenity throughout the cemetery for the next century,” he said.
“An old Chinese saying says, ‘If you plant a tree today, it is not for yourself, but to provide shade for your grandchildren.’ We would add a twist, ‘The trees we plant today are not for ourselves, but are for future generations of veterans and their loved ones.’ This is the least we can do for those who have so unselfishly served our country and the cause of freedom is to provide a beautiful, serene, eternal resting place graced by the shade of grand trees.”