By Paul Friedman
Places of quiet reflection helps us to learn and move on. The City of Alexandria, Virginia Tech and The VTV Family Outreach Foundation will plant new trees at Chinquapin Park. As envisioned by a team of Virginia Tech students, each spring an ellipse of 32 red buds will bloom, representing a need to prevent more gun deaths in America in remembrance of those lost in April 2007.
The public is invited to participate in the planting of the 18 oak trees on Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m. at the park, which is next door to T.C. Williams High School. This will add to the trees planted last April and follow through on the complete creation of the grove. The additional trees around the memorial will strengthen the tree canopy and shelter visitors to the park to create a space for reflection.
When finished, the grove will also include three benches and a large Hokie stone, made of the same limestone used to build almost all of Virginia Tech. That stone will be angled toward the university.
The foundation was created by families of the victims and survivors of the tragedy. Virginia Tech students have also taken the lead on watering and tending to the grove throughout the year. Alexandria was chosen as its home because of Virginia Tech’s landscape architecture program in Old Town, which has partnered with the city on a number of projects.
Last year’s event was attended by survivors and family members of the Virginia Tech victims, members of the Virginia General Assembly, the Alexandria City Council and school board. Those committed to finding solutions to stopping the unrelenting gun violence our nation is experiencing are welcome to join in the planting. A number of special guests will be in attendance.
Paul Friedman is the Executive Director of Safer Country, a new non-profit being created to ensure that all prohibited persons are entered into the national background check system for gun purchases. He is also the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Zebra. For more information on Safer Country, contact him at [email protected].