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Abor Day observance, Newly planted red oak honors veterans

Gusty, cold winds didn't dampen spirits Monday as West Fargo VFW Post 7564 and veterans from West Fargo and throughout the United States were recognized by the planting of a stately red oak tree in a special Arbor Day observance at Maplewood Park, located near Maple Lane on 17th Ave. E.

The VFW Color Guard, consisting of members Bill Tuff, Daryl Best, Larry Childs, and Don Faith, opened the ceremony with a color presentation ceremony followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern read the annual tree proclamation, noting the fact that West Fargo has been recognized as a Tree City U.S.A. for the past 24 years.

"This is quite an honor. We should be very proud of the tree plantings that have occurred throughout the city."

West Fargo VFW Commander Bill Tuff, also serving as guest speaker, commended the celebration saying the beginning of the Arbor Day observance in 1872 in Nebraska was a great thing, "giving us millions of trees to make us the bread basket of the world. Without this, our country would not be as strong as it is."

The third grade class of Ann Dye from Aurora Elementary School assisted City Forester Yvette Gehrke and Forestry Committee member Bob Potter with the actual planting of the tree, filling in dirt and then nourishing it further with water. They concluded their portion of the program by singing "America" (My Country Tis of Thee).

Potter selected the red oak to be planted saying he was looking for a tree that would add color to the area that also contains the West Fargo VFW Memorial. Potter noted that the tree will take on a beautiful red foliage in the fall, enhancing the area.

Sharon Bartels, representing the North Dakota Forest Service, presented Mattern with a flag recognizing the 24th Tree City U.S.A. designation. "We congratulate West Fargo. There's a reason you were the City of the Year last year. I think if you just drove around town it would be very obvious by all the trees."

This annual event is sponsored by the West Fargo Urban Forestry Committee. The West Fargo Chamber of Commerce served refreshments courtesy of Sandy's Donuts.