Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders will continue its commemoration of Ocean County's participation in World War I with the planting of a Tulip Poplar tree during the County's annual Arbor Day celebration.
The event is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m., May 2 in front of the Ocean County Courthouse, 118 Washington St., here. The public is invited to attend.
The planting of the Tulip Poplar tree is in partnership with a nation-wide memorial tree program by the Saving Hallowed Ground organization.
This Tulip Poplar tree will be a lasting memorial to the Ocean County residents who fought during World War I and especially those that made the ultimate sacrifice during this conflict, according to Ocean County Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr., who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Shade Tree Commission.
The popular tree was one of several trees planted as part of a national effort after the war to remember those who served during the war.
"A Tulip Poplar tree was a beautiful feature on the Courthouse lawn for many years prior to being taken down because of age," said Bartlett. "We look forward to having this new tree take root on the grounds of the Courthouse as a reminder of the sacrifices made in The Great War."
The tree also is being planted in conjunction with Arbor Day. The event will include music performed by the Libby Prison Minstrels, and students from Toms River High School South and South Toms River Elementary School will be in attendance. Barry L. Johnson, Chairman of the Saving Hallowed Ground Board of Directors, is scheduled to speak and will lead the unfolding of the Garrison flag.
"Out of the County's 1920 population of 22,155 residents, 2,433 Ocean County men served in the Great War, and 75 made the ultimate sacrifice," said Bartlett, "This tree will stand in dedication to those who served our nation."
The Saving Hallowed Ground's memorial tree program is part of their efforts to commemorate the World War I Centennial. The goal is to plant trees across the country to serve as living reminders of the soldiers and citizens who served on both small and large scales across the country and around the world during World War I.
Throughout history and literature, trees have appeared to be a common symbol for life. Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the roles of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care.
"This is a great opportunity for residents to understand the significance World War I had in Ocean County," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the Veterans Services Bureau. "It also reminds residents that trees not only beautify our County, but they are also a vital part of our environment."