Plant­ing mil­lions of mem­o­ries

High­way of Heroes tree cam­paign hon­ours mil­i­tary ser­vice

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - FRONT PAGE - TIM MEEKS

QUINTE WEST — A liv­ing trib­ute to our fallen heroes is be­ing planted along the High­way of Heroes.

And dur­ing a steady, cold rain Fri­day morn­ing in the Tren­ton Green Belt Con­ser­va­tion Area, Mark Cullen, chair­man of the High­way of Heroes Liv­ing Trib­ute for the High­way of Heroes Tree Cam­paign, un­veiled plans to plant 2,000,000 trees be­tween Tren­ton and Toronto, one tree for ev­ery Cana­dian that has served dur­ing times of con­flict since Con­fed­er­a­tion and in­clud­ing the war of 1812. One­hun­dred- and- sev­en­teen- thou­sand of the most prom­i­nent trees will be planted along and near the stretch of High­way 401 known as the High­way of Heroes, one tree for ev­ery life lost while serv­ing in the Cana­dian Armed Forces.

“This trib­ute of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to tell the story of those that have served in the Armed Forces and re­mind trav­ellers along the high­way of the great debt we owe th­ese coura­geous Cana­di­ans. It will also pro­vide a myr­iad of en­v­i­ron- men­tal ben­e­fits for gen­er­a­tions to come,” Cullen said.

“To be in Tren­ton, the gen­e­sis of the High­way of Heroes, all of us know the story, there’s no need to re­peat it, but 159 Cana­di­ans dur­ing the Afghan con­flict were lost, flown to CFB Tren­ton to be repa­tri­ated and were driven 170 kilo­me­tres down the High­way of Heroes to Toronto,” Cullen said.

“It’s our pledge to plant 117,000 trees right on the right of way of the 401, one tree for each of Canada’s war dead since the War of 1812, and an­other 1.8 mil­lion trees — one tree for each Cana­dian that vol­un­teered mil­i­tary ser­vice — on the other side of the farmer’s fence on both sides of the High­way of Heroes.

“The cam­paign is well un­der­way, we’ll be plant­ing an­other 10,000 trees af­ter to­day, and as we do that we’re go­ing to re­mem­ber why we’re do­ing it,” said Cullen.

“As we plant trees to­day to hon­our those who fought for us in our mil­i­tary it’s quite ap­pro­pri­ate we gather here in the Tren­ton Green Belt Con­ser­va­tion Area in one of the big­gest mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ties in the coun­try and the com­mu­nity where all pro­ces­sions down the High­way of Heroes be­gan. We’re just two days away now from Re­mem­brance Day, and not just any Re­mem­brance Day ei­ther, but rather the 100th an­niver­sary of the Ar­mistice and the end of the Great War. Some 619,636 Cana­di­ans en­listed with the Cana­dian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force dur­ing the war and ap­prox­i­mately 424,000 served over­seas. Of th­ese men and women 59,544 died dur­ing the war. To­day we con­tinue on our mis­sion to hon­our those and oth­ers, over two mil­lion Cana­di­ans vol­un­teered for mil­i­tary ser­vice since Con­fed­er­a­tion, a tree for ev­ery hero on the High­way of Heroes.”

The event also high­lighted a $ 25,000 con­tri­bu­tion to sup­port the High­way of Heroes Tree Cam­paign, pro­vided through the EcoCon­nex­ions pro­gram, a pro­gram ad­min­is­tered by Tree Canada and funded by CN. Th­ese funds will go to­ward mak­ing High­way of Heroes Tree Cam­paign the largest liv­ing memo­rial in Canada.

Cullen, Canada’s gar­den­ing guru and co- founder of the High­way of Heroes Tree Cam­paign, rec­og­nized the sup­port from Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 110 Tren­ton, CFB Tren­ton, vol­un­teers and lo­cal dig­ni­taries in­clud­ing Bay of Quinte MP Neil El­lis, Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, Min­is­ter of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, Job Cre­ation and Trade, and Quinte West Mayor Jim Har­ri­son. Also on hand were Mike Rosen, pres­i­dent of Tree Canada, Glenda Rodgers, CAO of Lower Trent Con­ser­va­tion, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from CFB Tren­ton.

The cer­e­mony in­cluded a full Re­mem­brance cer­e­mony, in­clud­ing a Colour Party from RCL Branch 110. A spe­cial Vimy Oak tree was planted at the site with an ad­di­tional 50 trees also be­ing planted by lo­cal vol­un­teers, adding to the thou­sands of trees planted pre­vi­ously by the High­way of Heroes Tree Cam­paign.

To learn more, visit www. ho­htribute. ca.

TIM MEEKS/ THE INTELLIGENCER

Mark Cullen, chair­man of the High­way of Heroes Tree Cam­paign ( right) was joined by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from CFB Tren­ton, RCL Branch 110 Tren­ton, lo­cal politi­cians and dig­ni­taries Fri­day to brave a cold and steady rain in the Tren­ton Green Belt Con­ser­va­tion Area and plant a spe­cial Vimy Oak tree to mark the an­nounce­ment that 2,000,000 trees will be planted along the High­way of Heroes be­tween Tren­ton and Toronto as a liv­ing trib­ute to all who have died and served in the Cana­dian Armed Forces since Con­fed­er­a­tion and in­clud­ing the War of 1812.

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