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Memorial trees

Posted: January 23, 2014 9:14 a.m.
Updated: January 24, 2014 5:00 a.m.

An interesting and moving project is taking place from Virginia up into Pennsylvania, where 620,000 trees are being planted along roadways to honor those who gave up their lives in the War Between The States, the bloodiest military conflagration in this nation’s history. Oaks, maples, cedars and dogwoods are being placed in the median and in groves along the historic highway that links Charlottesville, Va. and Gettysburg, Pa.

Nobody’s sure exactly how many soldiers perished in the Civil War, but 620,000 is a generally accepted number, and when the $65-million project is completed, it will be the largest man-made pathway of trees in the world, covering 180 miles over three states. And a fitting memorial it will be to those from both the South and the North who paid the ultimate price.

Spearheaded by a public-private effort centered through an organization called the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, the planting is a way to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the war. Communities along the way have embraced the effort, and participants speak of the healing of wounds that are now a century and a half old. If this country lost the same percentage today of its population as died in the Civil War, it would cost 6 million lives. The war is long over but those who fought on both sides deserve the memorial that is now being laid down for them.

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