Amherst to re­ceive new Vimy Oak

The Amherst News - - COVER STORY - By Christo­pher Good­ing

Af­ter a com­mu­nity link to the past was de­stroyed, the or­ga­ni­za­tion re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing oaks de­scended from a tree present at a piv­otal World War 1 bat­tle in France is re­plac­ing Amherst’s loss.

The Vimy Foun­da­tion has agreed to re­place Amherst’s dam­aged Vimy oak, free of charge. The oaks are de­scen­dants from an oak present dur­ing the Bat­tle of Vimy Ridge, long con­sid­ered a defin­ing mo­ment for Canada’s mil­i­tary.

Af­ter the bat­tle, many sol­diers re­al­ized they were part of some­thing great. Les­lie Miller, born in 1889 in Mil­liken, ON, looked around for a sou­venir on the ridge. He gath­ered up a hand­ful of acorns, later plant­ing them at his Scar­bor­ough home. To­day’s Vimy oaks come from there.

Vet­eran and long-serv­ing le­gion mem­ber Jack Perry re­ceived the call this week the or­ga­ni­za­tion will be re­plac­ing the dam­aged oak.

“I don’t know when I’m go­ing to get it, but they said they’ll give it to us for free in light of ev­ery­thing that hap­pened to us,” Perry said.

Amherst planted its ini­tial Vimy oak on Aug. 10, but on Sept. 5th a Town of Amherst’s hor­ti­cul­tur­ist dis­cov­ered the tree ripped from its roots. Po­lice were called and are seek­ing in­for­ma­tion on the act, but there was lit­tle that could be done to save the sapling.

Perry says the Vimy Foun­da­tion’s gen­eros­ity has been matched by the New Brunswick Land­scap­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, who have of­fered to trans­port the new sapling from its On­tario nurs­ery.

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