Memorial Grove, when it was dedicated in 1928, included 380 maple trees for each casualty of World War I from the local community. A bronze plaque inscribed with the name of a deceased veteran was placed at each tree. But over time, the plaques disappeared, some of the trees died off and other uses, including Shakespearean theater, took over the spot. Today, about 212 of the original trees remain standing, and an effort to restore all 380 is underway.
Rededicated on November 11, 2020 – Veteran’s Day after years of planning, delays, and amid a global pandemic, city and state officials gathered to dedicate “the largest and finest” WWI memorial in the country, according to Brian McCarthy, president of the Green Hill Park Coalition, who worked tirelessly on the project.
Worcester played a large role in the war, sending soldiers off from Union Station to fight overseas.
“Men from Worcester that did not serve in New England’s 26th Division eventually served in every division the Army sent to France,” Mayor Joseph M. Petty said, adding that the memorial is a reminder of what the city lost.
“We need memorials like to to insure that we remember today and that future generations do not forget the horrors of war. We cannot forget the lessons we learned,” Petty said.
City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. acknowledged the parks department for its work in putting together the memorial and noted that he was struck by the contrast of the peaceful park and its rolling green to the trenches and mud WWI soldiers encountered as they fought.
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