Me­mo­rial takes root

Oak Sapling with ori­gins linked to Vimy Ridge planted at Brook­lyn Fire De­part­ment


From a bat­tle­field in France to a park in On­tario, and now to West Hants, a sapling with roots that can be traced back to the Bat­tle of Vimy Ridge is now a per­ma­nent fix­ture of the Brook­lyn Fire De­part­ment’s grounds.

The young oak tree, de­scended from an oak that was brought to Canada as an acorn, was planted on Oct. 22 with the help of lo­cal politi­cians, vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers and Royal Cana­dian Le­gion mem­bers.

Chick Martin, vet­eran of the Royal Cana­dian Air Force, said the new oak tree is an im­por­tant sym­bol of re­mem­brance.

“Canada was only 50 years old (dur­ing the Bat­tle of Vimy Ridge) and we didn’t have much of an army at that time,” Martin said be­fore the plant­ing. “The French tried to cap­ture Vimy Ridge from the Ger­mans and were to­tally de­feated. The Cana­di­ans took it on, were told they had to do it, and they cap­tured Vimy Ridge from the Ger­mans.”

Dur­ing that bat­tle, all of the oak trees that were there were “com­pletely blown to pieces,” he said.

“A sol­dier by the name of Les­lie Miller of Scarborough, On­tario gath­ered a bunch of acorns and sent them home. His par­ents planted them in a park.”

That park in On­tario is now known as The Vimy Oaks. The tree planted in Brook­lyn is a sapling from one of the trees from the park.

The sapling came with a cer­tifi­cate of au­then­tic­ity, con­firm­ing its ori­gins.

“The im­por­tance of all of this, in my opin­ion, it would have been un­think­able what would have hap­pened if we lost the war,” Martin said. “What would have be­come of our great coun­try?”

Harold McKay, a young stu­dent from Brook­lyn, died at the bat­tle of Vimy Ridge at the age of 19. He was one of the 3,598 Cana­di­ans killed in that bat­tle.

West Hants War­den Abra­ham Ze­bian said he was happy to be part of the cer­e­mony.

“It’s a sym­bol of our his­tory and what bet­ter place to have it than a place we’re very proud of, our fire de­part­ment?” Ze­bian said. “I hope that peo­ple will come here, read up on it, and the his­tory will be passed from one gen­er­a­tion to the next.”

Brett Te­tan­ish, deputy chief with the Brook­lyn Fire De­part­ment, and vol­un­teer mem­ber Ge­orge Pi­neo said they were thrilled to have the tree on the grounds.

“It’s re­ally nice for us, be­cause we have the Re­mem­brance cer­e­mony for the area here, with the mon­u­ment, and now we have another area where we can re­flect West Hants Coun­cil­lor Jen­nifer Daniels ( left), Dorothy Martin, Chick Martin, Coun. David Keith, War­den Abra­ham Ze­bian, and Coun. Kathy Mon­roe pose for a photo with the new sapling.

specif­i­cally on Vimy Ridge,” Te­tan­ish said. “At the same time, it’s go­ing to help beau­tify our prop­erty here.”

Pi­neo added that it was a last­ing me­mo­rial.

“You have so much to re­flect on, com­rades who have passed or have served with, it’s a very touch­ing me­mo­rial,” he said. Got a news tip? Call our news­room



Once planted, a me­mo­rial plaque is in­stalled at the base of the tree.


Chick Martin, re­tired mem­ber of the Royal Cana­dian Air Force gives a sa­lute after the tree is planted.


Kevin Cox, Min­is­ter at the New­port United Church, gives a prayer and some thoughts on the sig­nif­i­cance on the oak be­ing planted in Brook­lyn.

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