By Adam Pack
On Wednesday, Sept. 14, The Gold Star Mothers of Rainelle began laying the foundations for honoring the memory of those West Virginians who gave their lives during the Global War on Terror for many generations to come.
What is now an empty field in Rainelle will soon be an apple orchard with 55 apple trees, each tree representing one service member from each county in West Virginia who has passed away in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The planting of this orchard is a “Living Memorial.” This is a joint project of Gold Star Mothers of West Virginia, Rainelle Chapter and The West Virginia Department of Agriculture, and involves 9 to 10 month of planning, as well as dozens of volunteers.
Trees were planted and a fence was erected Wednesday by members of the Greenbrier West High School JROTC, the Greenbrier West FFA, and refreshments for the planters and volunteers were provided by the students from the vocational school’s culinary department. The carpentry class constructed a gazebo nearby, and many other community organizations pitched in to help. Prior to the planting of the trees, the ground had been prepared and gravel had been put in place at the entrance to the orchard. Cement was also poured to serve as foundations for a memorial bench as well as a flag pole.
All this was in preparation for a dedication event on Saturday, Sept. 17. At this ceremony, each tree will be adorned with a dog tag corresponding to a lost service member from the county the tree represents.
Parties interested in attending can call to RSVP at 304-547-0673 or 304-222-5247 or email email@example.com for more details.