Jefferson City — Earlier today, State Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, kicked off an hour-long Liberty Tree planting ceremony on the Missouri State Capitol grounds. The event was part of a continued celebration of National Volunteer Month and the 4-H True Leaders in Service Initiative.
“I first learned about the Liberty Tree from Missouri 4-H. I was so inspired by its story and meaning that I wanted to see if we could bring a piece of it here,” said Munzlinger. “Today, we were fortunate to bear witness as one of the descendants of the last original Liberty Tree was planted right here in the shadow of our magnificent Missouri State Capitol.”
The original Liberty Tree was planted in 1646 and stood near Boston Common during the Revolutionary War era. In the years leading up to the war, the Liberty Tree was a well-known meeting place for those who wanted out from underneath the yoke of British tyranny. The tree quickly came to represent the revolutionary spirit and the desire for liberty, and the idea spread throughout the 13 colonies, with each colony selecting its own Liberty Tree where they could meet.
The very last of the original Liberty Trees was a tulip poplar that stood on the grounds of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, until it was felled by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Prior to its death, 14 seedlings were successfully germinated from it and planted throughout the 13 colonies. To further preserve the legacy of the Liberty Tree, a bud-grafting program was launched, through which several bud-grafted trees were grown. Thanks to the generosity of Crader Distributing and local STIHL dealers, 30 of these bud-grafted trees were donated to Missouri 4-H clubs to be planted in public spaces throughout Missouri.
“In addition to remembering an important, though often forgotten, part of our nation’s history, today was about celebrating community service and citizenship — two concepts embodied by the 4-H organization,” added Munzlinger. “For the past week, 4-H clubs throughout Missouri have been planting Liberty Trees in their communities, and today’s ceremony was a culmination of their efforts.”
“You simply can’t place a value on giving back to a community that has given so much to you or on what it means to be a good steward of our precious natural world and the country we’re blessed to call home. I am incredibly proud of all the service-oriented young men and women who are part of the 4-H organization and grateful for their commitment to making our local communities, state and world a better place.”
The ceremony, which began at 3 p.m., also featured remarks by 4-H Foundation trustee Breanne Brammer and Stan Crader, president of Crader Distributing. Event attendees included members of the 4-H community, Missouri 4-H faculty and staff, 4-H Foundation staff and trustees, Crader Distributing, state lawmakers and the public.