Bellevue's Sacred Trees

Photo by Connie Rankin for The Citizen

Many people who attend next Monday’s Memorial Day service in Bellevue’s Bayne Park will walk along a pathway shaded by beautiful trees.

Some may even notice the markers placed in front of each of the trees.

It’s likely that few will realize the history and significance of that walkway.

On May 29, 1920, the Bellevue community gathered to plant 12 Pin Oak trees, one for each of the town residents who died in World War I -- 11 soldiers and one nurse.

In a Memorial Day service felt by the entire community, Gold Star Mothers -- those who had lost a child in the war -- found a tree planted for each of their children by the Mothers of Demo-cracy (MOD), who had petitioned Bellevue Bor-ough to create the living monument. A soldier stood by each tree, and a wooden marker in front of each bore the name of the Bellevue resident who had died.

School children began collecting pennies to pay for bronze markers for each tree, and one year later -- on May 29, 1921 -- these replaced the original wooden markers.

Before the end of the year, Bellevue’s tribute to the veterans of World War I also included the Doughboy statue that still can be seen at the Teece Avenue corner of Bayne Park. It was dedicated on Nov. 29, 1921.

Bellevue’s 2010 Memorial Day service will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, and include a tribute to Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Robert D. Fleming Post #2454.

Research for this article was contributed by Roberta Slanina O’Brien.

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