"In Memoriam: Lauderdale County First to Honor War Heroes"
SOURCE: Florence Herald, Florence, Alabama, Thursday, February 27, 1919, p. 1
Lauderdale County First To Honor War Heroes.
A row of most beautiful "victory Oaks" was planted last Friday, on city property in Florence, and dedicated to the heroes of Lauderdale County, who will never come back to us.
It is eminently fitting that the splendid boys who dies for a living principle should have living trees dedicated to their memory, for Truth, Justice and Liberty were established when the "morning stars sang together," and will live until the last star fades in the Western sky and the vast eternity unrolls as a scroll.
This beautiful thought originated from the lines on "The Tree", left as literary heritage to the world by the poet soldier, Joyce Kilmer. The lines were reproduced in the Florence Herald two weeks ago. It is through inspiration of this poem that the American Forestry Association put forth its bulletin as a propaganda of the idea.
The Game Warden of Alabama, in a private letter to the Chairman of the soldiers Comfort Committee urges this method of honoring our dead heroes.
Lauderdale County is the very first county in Alabama, and so far as known up to this date, the very first in the South that has commenced this laudable undertaking, although it has been recommended by many States, Park Commissioners, and Counties, yet we are the first to put the request in concrete form.
Louisiana is planning to plant over four hundred miles in an avenue of trees, that will span the entire state to honor the boys who made the supreme sacrifice of the ages, just such boys as are described in the following poem: written by Robert Service in his "Rhymes of a Red Cross Man."
"Where are you going, Young fellow My lad,
On this glittering morn in May?
"I'm going to join the colors Dad;
They are looking for me to say."
But you are only a boy, Young Fellow, My Lad;
You aren't obliged to go:
"I'm seventeen and a quarter, Dad,
And ever so strong you know."
The city government feels a patriotic pride in the planting of these trees along the public streets.
The officials of the city will exercise a proper interest in their care and protection.
While they are planted within this city, they are none the less in Lauderdale county and will therefore be looked upon in all the years to come with pride and admiration by all the people.
When Morrison Avenue is paved, in the near future, these trees will be standing on a thoroughfare leading into a large section of Lauderdale county, north of us and west of us.
At some early date the city commissioners will possible [sic] feel it their duty to change the name of this street, for some two or three blocks, calling it “Memorial Avenue,” or some appropriate name, to honor the memory of the heroes of Lauderdale county who made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of liberty and for their county.
M. M. Striplin, Mayor
It is upon this short and beautiful street that the trees were planted and decorated to the following:
Lieut. Frank Leslie Young
Private T. A. Rowell
Private John Wesley Hall
Private Jacob Heupel
Private Clayton Underwood
Private Henry Holland
Private J. M. Wilcoxsen [sic, should be Wilcoxson]
Private Herbert Lee Hill, Colored
Private Aganew [sic, should be Agnew]
Private B. Martin
Private G. Thompson
These names were secured from the Name Service Department of Lauderdale County Red Cross Chapter and the appeal is made if any one is cognizant of the name, or names, of soldiers who have died in camp or overseas from Lauderdale county, they will be forwarded at once to Mrs. Turner Rice.