HCS JROTC students participate in tree planting for Gosnold’s Hope Park Reflections Area
Students from each of the four high school JROTC programs participated in a tree planting ceremony on Saturday, August 14, 2021. The event took place at Gosnold’s Hope Park in Hampton. The trees are a part of a new reflection area in the park.
In preparation of the 20th anniversary of the reading of names, on September 11, 2021, the 9-11 committee of the city of Hampton recommended the establishment of a reflection area with five trees, a park bench, and signage. The committee requested the support of the four high school JROTC students to help plant the trees and hear impacts of the September 11, 2001 event. Prior to the planting of the trees, the committee members provided history on why the city of Hampton started the yearly program (20 years ago), called: “A Day of Remembrance and HOPE at Gosnold’s Hope Park.”
The trees planted are a result of losing five of the original “Trees of Hope” during the last 20 years. The area is being provided so people can visit and reflect and remember the sacrifice people made on September 11, 2001 and many times since that date.
“It is a powerful message that we see the next generation coming here to remember and create a place called hope,” said Angela Lee Leary, former member of Hampton City Council.
The Trees of Hope:
On Tuesday, September 4, 2001, a small group of citizens met with Jim Wilson, Hampton’s director of Parks and Recreation, to plan a “Tree Lighting Event” in Gosnold’s Hope Park on Tuesday, December 11, 2001. Angela Lee Leary, then president of the Pastures Civic Association and chair of the Salina Street Neighborhood Center (John Tyler Elementary School’s “after school” program – now Mary S. Peake Elementary School), was then elected chair of the Tree Lighting Committee. At that time, little did we know that the world was about to change drastically the following week, on Tuesday, September 11. As a result, the committee shifted from a “Tree Lighting Event” at Gosnold’s Hope Park to an event called “Planting Trees of Hope in the Soils of Justice,” with the help of governors George Pataki of New York; Governor Michael Schweiker of Pennsylvania, and Governor James Gilmore of Virginia.
The first Planting Trees of Hope in the Soils of Justice event took place at Gosnold’s near Little Back River Road on Tuesday, December 11, 2001. Eleven evergreen trees were planted as a “symbol of hope” in soils from all three attack sites -NY, PA and VA - co-mingled with soils from Hampton, Virginia, the oldest continuous English-speaking settlement in the nation and home of Langley Air Force Base, whose pilots were sent to intercept any hijacked planes that might threaten our nation’s capital on 9/11.
The trees planted on August 14, are a result of losing five of the original “Trees of Hope” during the last twenty years. A permanent bench for this intended “reflections area or tranquility area is also being added. The area is being provided so people can visit and reflect and remember the sacrifice people made on September 11, 2001 and many times since that date.