Mayor Chris Beutler invites the public to the dedication of Lincoln's Liberty Tree Memorial at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 8 in Antelope Park near the Liberty Bell Pavilion west of the Auld Recreation Center. Lincoln recently received a ceremonial 15-foot disease-resistant American Liberty Elm made possible through a grant by the Elm Research Institute (ERI). The memorial includes a bronze plaque telling the story of the Liberty Tree.
ERI, a non-profit organization based in New Hampshire, is the sponsor and promoter of the Liberty Tree Memorials project. It's based on Boston's famous Liberty Tree planted in 1646. By the time of the Revolution, the tree was 100 feet tall and served as a rallying location for protests against British rule. In an act of revenge, the British troops cut down the Liberty Tree in August 1775. At the time, General Lafayette said, "The world should never forget the spot where once stood the Liberty Tree, so famous in your annals."
Lincoln is one of 408 Liberty Tree Memorial sites. To qualify for a memorial, a city must establish it in a prominent location and hold a public event that includes the reading of Thomas Paine's poem "Liberty Tree."
ERI was founded in 1967 with the purpose of saving the American elm from extinction. ERI sponsored genetic research that resulted in the 1984 introduction of the American Liberty Elm, a purebred descendant of disease-resistant American elms. More than 300,000 American Liberty Elms have been planted at prominent locations throughout the country including the U.S. Capitol Building and the Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia.
More information is available at elmresearch.org.