Washington’s Birthday Bicentennial: Planting a Tree

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President and Mrs. Hoover leaving Christ Church services in honor of Washington’s 200th birthday.

The bicentennial of Washington’s birth in February, 1932, was an occasion celebrated throughout the United States, and around the world. The official George Washington Bicentennial Commission was established by President Coolidge in December 1924, and over the succeeding seven years it organized numerous projects, programs and celebrations to commemorate the historic date, and encouraged communities and civic organizations throughout the United States to follow suit.

As President, Mr. Hoover served as the chairman of the Bicentennial Commission. (You can read President Hoover’s formal address to a Joint Session of Congress, opening the official celebration.) He personally attended many of the Bicentennial Commission meetings, and he received countless letters from people throughout the country describing local plans, requesting personal messages or appearances, or offering memorials or tributes.

One such memorial was the establishment of a Washington Memorial Forest in Palestine, sponsored by the Jewish National Fund of America. Hoover received a letter in February of 1932 from the Jewish Fund of America:

My dear Mr. President:

The Jewish National Fund of America of which I have the honor of being president, has evolved a plan of commemorating the Washington Bicentennial Anniversary in a manner which is bound to arrest the attention of the New York Jewry and help in the establishment of an everlasting memorial to the Father of our Republic on a spot in which mankind as a whole has been deeply interested for thousands of years…

…the Jewish National Fund plans to plant on its land holdings in Palestine, a Washington Forest consisting of approximately 500,000 eucalyptus and pine trees to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary….

Hoover later received a letter that one tree had been planted in his name in the Washington Forest in Palestine, it is not know what happened to that tree.

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