JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- A stone's throw from Liberty Gate on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, fresh soil has been turned over and a new tree has been planted in the Commander's Grove Arboretum.
Lieutenant General Gary Volesky planted a blue spruce tree Jan. 27 to commemorate his time as I Corps commanding general.
For 62 years, the trees planted in the Commanding General's Arboretum have honored commanding generals for their service and welcomed visitors through the main gate.
Volesky's blue spruce marks the 33rd tree to be planted in the Commanding General's Arboretum and Walking Trail just outside the Liberty Gate Visitor Control Center.
"It's an honor to take part in this long-standing tradition," said Volesky. "It is important to maintain the legacy of honorable service showcased here."
The tradition of tree planting dates back to February 1922 when Brig. Gen. Charles Muir, Camp Lewis commander, ordered the planting of two Lawson Cypress trees near the construction of Camp Lewis' first main gate, known then as the Liberty Arch Monument Gate and located near today's DuPont Gate.
Each tree stands as a monument to the leadership and memory of the installation's highest ranking military leaders as they leave the base.
In 1991, an honorary, gold General's Shovel was made for the event. The names of each of the departing commanding generals have been added to the arm of the shovel on bronze plates. The previous honoree is retired Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, former I Corps commanding general.
Attendees of the event said they were thankful for the hard work and diligence of JBLM's Directorate of Public Works.
"We have an amazing team of grounds keepers who are dedicated to maintaining the beauty and dignity of JBLM," said Steven Perrenot, director of DPW. "The history lessons provided by sites like this are vital for service members stationed here as well as visitors to the base."