The Ward Six 9/11 Memorial Grove at Congressional Cemetery broke ground on Arbor Day as the first of nine memorial groves to be placed around the city in memory of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Rosemary Dillard, who lost her husband at the Pentagon on September 11th, spoke to the audience of the healing power of the Groves. Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, she said, “When evil men plot, good men plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men build and bind.” The ceremony was also attended by others who lost loved ones at the Pentagon as well as members of the Ward Six community. Community support is vital to the success of the grove. Barry Goodinson of Greenspaces for DC, highlighted the living memorial nature of the groves. Association Chair Linda Harper expressed the Board’s appreciation for the honor of caring for the grove.
Procurement of the trees and the landscape architecture design services was made possible by funding from the U.S. Forest Service and the Nature Sacred organization. Greenspaces for DC, as the managing organization for the groves, has committed $45,000 toward the $150,000 total cost of the Ward Six grove. Installation of the grove will be made possible by donations of Ward Six residents and businesses.
Lee & Associates, a local award winning landscape design firm, is designing the Ward Six Grove, as well as the main grove at Kingman Island. Jeff Lee, principle of Lee & Associates, noted that the Grove is intended to be non-prescriptive, allowing each person to interpret and memorialize the loss of that day in their own way. Association member Jill Dowling, also a member of the Lee design team, was especially pleased to help bring the design to fruition to both remember those lost on September 11th and to enhance Congressional Cemetery.
The Ward Six grove is the largest enhancement of the Congressional Cemetery grounds in over 150 years. It reverses a decades long trend of tree removals and deferred plantings. Chair Linda Harper noted that the Grove continues a tradition of memorials at Congressional like the Arsenal Monument and the cenotaphs. Once installed, the Association will assume responsibility for the care and maintenance of the trees.
Also attending the groundbreaking were Kitty Stoner and Mary Wyatt of Nature Sacred, an organization renowned for endowing sacred spaces. Mathew Arnn of the U.S. Forest Service, the primary funder of the project, and Sally Boasberg, President of Greenspaces for DC assisted in the groundbreaking.
Approximately one-third of the funding is in hand for the installation of the grove. Fundraising efforts for the remainder will begin this summer. Construction of the hardscape is expected to begin in July and plantings will go in the ground in September. For more information see: www.greenspacesfordc.org.
The allee of trees stretches from the Sousa memorial bench to the Barney Circle fence. At the north end is a cross of 24 Okame Cherry trees followed by 17 Chinese Elm trees in an alternating setting. At the Prout Street intersection are 16 flowering Magnolia trees circling the Lummi healing poles. To the south are 28 Hornbeam in a tight formation ending at a meditative space. Looking south are scattered junipers and a fence line of redbuds, witchhazel, and juniper.