‘Liberty Tree’ honored in service

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Beneath the sheltering branches of a great American elm, known at the “Liberty Tree,’ the Boston Tea Party was born.

The great American elm that was celebrated in Brundidge Tuesday was only a scant 12-feet tall and the event small compared to the Boston Tea Party. However, the dedication of the town’s “Liberty” elm was of great significance to the Brundidge community.

Brundidge is one of only 460 communities nationwide to have a “Liberty” Tree Memorial, which is a living growing tribute to America’s freedom and founding.

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Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage called the dedication a great event for the city.

“Just up the road is where United States Congressman John Lewis attended school,” Ramage told the gathering of public officials and city citizens.

Lewis was a leader in the Civil Right Movement and was recently awarded the 2010 Medal of Freedom.

Britt Thomas, city manager, said the significance of the American elm is that, before the American Revolution, influential men, including Paul Revere and John Hancock, called the Rebellious Nine, met under a 200-year-old elm in Boston in protest of the King of England’s Stamp Act.

“There were nine colonies at the time and they were independent and didn’t believe that they should pay taxes to England,” Thomas said.

“But the people of England were being taxed heavily and the Stamp Act would provide a new source of revenue for England.”

Thomas said the colonists believed that they should make their own laws and they were outraged by the Stamp Act.

The colonists revolted and won their independence but before the British soldiers left Boston, they cut down the “Liberty” elm, which became America’s first symbol of freedom.

The “Liberty Tree” Society, sponsored by Elm Research Institute, is an organization dedicated to the celebration of the “Liberty Tree.”

The “Liberty Tree” Society strives to make known the spirit of the American colonists and the central role played by the “Liberty Tree” in America’s past, present and future.

“The” Liberty Tree’ Society has as a goal to re-establish the American elm through these memorials,” Thomas said. “The society’s goal is to have 1,000 of these memorials all across the United States.”

The memorials are made possible through donations. Each memorial requires a donation of $2,500 that pays for the elm, a plaque and the research into the re-establishment of the American elm.

“Years ago, the American elm was wiped out by a blight but, through research, these ‘Liberty’ elms are disease resistant,” Thomas said.

“We are honored to have a ‘Liberty Tree’ memorial in Brundidge and appreciate the person who thought enough of Brundidge to make the donation that made this memorial possible.”

The city has plans to develop the area on the north side of town into a patriotic park with its “Liberty Tree” Memorial as the centerpiece.”