Woodhaven is doing its part to remember those who gave their lives in defense of the country during World War I, just in time for Memorial Day.
For the first time in over 70 years, the Memorial Trees in Forest Park will be decorated with red, white and blue bows thanks to a joint effort by Project Woodhaven, American Legion Post 118 and the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society.
“In the process of research with the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society, we found old news clippings about the Memorial Trees in Forest Park,” said Ed Wendell of Project Woodhaven. “We did some further research and pieced together the story of how after World War I people all over were looking for ways to commemorate those who died. In Woodhaven, they come up with the idea of planting trees for those who died from Woodhaven.”
In 1919, 53 trees were planted, with 17 more added in later years to bring the total to 70 trees.
In the years after the trees were planted, the women of the American Legion would adorn them with patriotic bows, and the families of the fallen soldiers would visit the trees in remembrance of their lost loved ones.
As time marched on, this tradition was slowly forgotten, but the 53 original trees remain in Forest Park.
To celebrate the revival of this once-forgotten tradition, the 53 trees will be reintroduced to the community during a reception on Thursday at Oak Ridge in Forest Park from 5 to 8 p.m.
During the reception, there will be a slideshow about this piece of Woodhaven’s forgotten history where guests will learn about the young men who died during the war and about Woodhaven during the WWI era. Light refreshments will be served.