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.