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Memorial Day Trees

Honoring a famous poet and veteran

For years, my webmaster work carried me between two worlds; one website in the world of trees with the other website about war. A stark contrast, I agree. It was probably inevitable that I made the discovery I did...

Who amongst us hasn't heard of the poem "TREES" by Joyce Kilmer? Even if you don't remember the famous first lines, "I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree" you've probably still seen some sort of reference to the poem somewhere.

The crossover between my two web site worlds finally arrived when I realized the poet, Joyce Kilmer, wasn't a woman after all.  He was one SGT Alfred Joyce Kilmer.  Further research revealed SGT Kilmer was killed by a sniper in France, while serving in the US Army during World War One. You could call it an epiphany of sorts for me.

Born in Middlesex County, New Jersey, SGT Kilmer was killed at the age of 31 in the second battle of Marne, France, July 30th, 1918, while serving with the 'Fighting 69th.'  SGT Kilmer was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for his valor. He was survived by his wife and four children, and was predeceased by a daughter Rose, whom he credits with strengthening his religious faith through their family's struggle with her infantile paralysis.

On Memorial Day, we should remember and honor SGT Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) who wrote many poems focusing on the beauty of nature and his Catholic beliefs, while publishing the poem "Trees" in 1913. Some believe this poem was inspired by a massive white oak on the campus of Cook College. Its nickname, the 'Kilmer Oak' followed shortly thereafter.

white-oak-branches.jpg

Massive branches of a White Oak

Joyce Kilmer's life work included Funk and Wagnalls, the New York Times, and many years on the lecture circuit as an accomplished speaker and author.

A book he planned to write about the war remains unpublished.
   
Bob

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