SYCAMORE – Sycamore Mayor Curt Lang celebrated this Veterans Day outdoors.
Lang spearheaded the founding of Sycamore Grove, A Tribute to Veterans. The grove is located adjacent to the Sycamore Middle School along Route 23 and the North Main Street Trail.
The grove of trees is a living and growing tribute to veterans, honoring their memories and recognizing their sacrifices.
On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, families of veterans dedicated a tree in the grove by placing a tag that lists the veteran’s name, branch of service, rank, type of tree and the dedication date.
“When I was first elected mayor, I attended a Veterans Day ceremony,” Lang said. “It occurred to me that there was no memorial for veterans in Sycamore. It became my personal goal to recognize the veterans, including my father, who have given so much for our country.”
Lang’s father, Eldon Lang, who served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, is one of the veterans honored in the grove. Lang’s wife’s family has a tree in the grove that honors her parents, John and Leila Ronning, who served during World War II, and her grandfather, Magnus Ronning, who served during World War I.
The grove will have 50 trees of six different varieties and is funded by veteran families and corporate donors. Tree types include maple, elm, oak, coffee, hackberry and bald cypress.
In October, 43 trees were planted. Seven additional trees will be planted in the spring, dedicated by corporate donors, to honor soldiers who served in the following conflicts: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf Wars.
“The trees we planted are saplings, and as the trees grow to maturity, generations of the veterans’ families will be able to enjoy the tree,” Lang said. “The tree is symbolic in many ways, representing strength, roots, branches, size and family growth.”
Each veteran’s photograph and biography, prepared by their family, will be listed online at the grove’s website, www.sycamoreveteransgrove.com.
More trees are planned to be added to the grove annually. Families can inquire about adding trees on the grove’s website.
“I hope that as people walk along the trail, they take the time to look at the trees and remember all that veterans have done,” Lang said. “I hope that students from the middle school learn more about the veterans’ lives and experiences. I look forward to the trees growing and offering beautification of Sycamore as they flower, grow leaves and become tall and majestic.”