Tree Planting Commemorates 150th Anniversary of Appomattox as Part of Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Living Legacy Project

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Trees Planted Sunday by Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard. Leaders from Sons of Confederate Veterans, MOLLUS, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and Daughter of the Confederacy Join Together to Honor Civil War Fallen as Legendary College Football Coach Vince Dooley Served as Keynote Speaker at Dedication Ceremony

Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard plant trees on Sunday to honor the Civil War fallen

To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Appomattox, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership was honored to have Soldiers of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Virginia Army National Guard, known as the Stonewall Brigade, plant over 200 Rising Sun Redbuds Sunday at the Inn at Meander Plantation in Locust Dale, Virginia, the very property where Jackson’s troops crossed en-route to the Battle of Cedar Mountain 152 years earlier.

This tree planting and dedication ceremony is part of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Living Legacy Tree Planting Project, an effort to plant one tree for each of the 620,000 soldiers who died during this country’s most defining moment. In doing so, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Living Legacy Tree Project will become a National Memorial for the Civil War Fallen.

Joining members of the Virginia National Guard in the ceremony to honor the fallen were leaders from the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. In addition, representatives from MOLLUS, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, as well as the United Daughters of the Confederacy-Virginia Division helped in the remembrance. Collectively, these groups represent over 50,000 descendants of the Civil War. “This is a monumental occasion for us. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have today’s soldiers help us reflect and remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice. And to bring ancestors from both sides of the conflict together to pay tribute to each life is extra special,” said Journey Through Hallowed Ground President Cate Magennis Wyatt.

Legendary College Football Vince Dooley served as the keynote speaker for the dedication ceremony. Doooley, a member of the National Advisory Council of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Living Legacy Tree Project, a former Marine, and Civil War Historian was the Head Football Coach and Director of Athletics at The University of Georgia. He has been the recipient of most of the nation’s highest honors in both coaching and athletic administration including the James. J. Corbett Memorial Award, John L. Toner Award, Wooden Award, Bear Bryant Award, the Duffy Daugherty Memorial Award, and most recently was inducted into the Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame. He was named NCAA National Coach of the Year by every major poll in 1980. Dooley is a 1994 inductee into the National College Football Hall of Fame and in 2001 received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award from American Football Coaches Association, presented for lifetime contributions to the sport of football.

He has also authored several books including two editions of Dooley’s Dawgs (with Loran Smith), My 40 Years at Georgia (with Tony Barnhart), Dooley’s Playbook: The 34 Most Memorable Plays in Georgia Football History, Dooley’s Garden: A Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach, and History and Reminiscences of the University of Georgia. Dooley hopes, through the Living Legacy Tree Project, that people will gain "a deeper appreciate for history, the history of this country, and this great crisis that really made our country, he said."

Remarks were also given by Col. Coffin from the Virginia National Guard, Sons of Confederate Veterans Executive Director Mike Landree, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Department of the Chesapeake Commander Robert Pollack, and JTHG President Cate Magennis Wyatt. Dr. Cheryl Brown Davis from the United Daughters of the Confederacy-Virginia Division will provide music during the ceremony. "The soldiers of our unit are very privileged to be here to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War," said Colonel William Coffin, Commander of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Virginia National Guard. "For us, it is very meaningful because our predecessors fought on this battleground during the Civil War."

In addition, local students and area scouts contributed to today’s successful planting and ceremony. Elementary through middle school students from Locust Grove and Ruckersville researched individual soldier stories and shared those stories with those in attendance, while boy scouts joined the Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard in planting the trees. Ames True Temper, a company that has been around since 1774, donated the tools used for the planting and Clinton Nursery supplied the 200 Rising Sun Redbuds. The Inn at Meander and the Inn at Willow Grove also contributed to this effort.

Trees planted as part of the Living Legacy Project will eventually stretch along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, a 180-mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. It was upon the battlefields within this region that many of the soldiers who fought and died over 150 years ago. Each tree is then geo-tagged and placed on an interactive online map created with the support of GIS software industry leader Esri. In addition, links the Living Legacy Tree Project to their Fold 3 Memorial Pages and provide access to its websites so that participating JTHG classrooms can research soldiers’ stories. For more information on the Living Legacy Project, visit

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