OAKDALE, Pa. (April 24, 2010) - Members of local businesses, schools, scout troops and veteran organizations gathered to dedicate seven historical trees and two benches to service members at Donaldson Community Park here Saturday.

"I was pleased to see the turn out and that the community came out to show its support," said Ann Anzaroot, a volunteer with Action for Change Today (ACT), a West-Allegheny-based volunteer group that hosted the event. "Now people know about the Liberty Grove and hopefully it will inspire people to thank service members."

Following the posting and retiring of the colors, former Marine Corps Capt. Richard O'Bryan spoke to the audience about remembering the sacrifices of service members.

"All of you who have made the conscious decision to serve our country ... have done so magnificently," said O'Bryan. "Any person who chooses to freely defend their nation ... will know this sacrifice will not be forgotten."

Members of Boy Scout Troop 355 described the trees dedicated to each branch of service and laid labeled stones next to the trees. Not only were the trees individually dedicated to branches of the service, but each carried its own historical significance. For instance, volunteers planted a honey locust grown from a seed where Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address for the Army and a moon sycamore grown from a seed taken into outer space during the Apollo XIV mission for the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Volunteers also planted a Betsy Ross sycamore for the Navy, a Wright Brothers sweet gum for the Air Force, a Franklin Rosevelt tulip popular for the Marines, a George Washington red maple for the Coast Guard and a Patrick Henry osage orange for the Merchant Marines.

The trees were provided by the American Forest Program and planted in October. Local businesses, institutions and fundraiser volunteers provided the more than $6,600 for the trees.

Following the dedication of the trees, Frank Blaskowitz, an ACT volunteer, announced the dedication of the benches to the VFW Post 7070 and American Legion Post 171 in Oakdale and to the VFW Post 7714 in Imperial.

"I hope that the public has a daily reminder with this park ... of what our service members sacrifice and remembers we have men and women serving every day overseas," Anzaroot said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16