Friendship Trees in Great Britain
“It is well that there is nothing in Rotary so sacred that it cannot be set aside in favor of things better. This is an experimental age in a changing world, and all things which are worth while and progressive are the cumulative effects of preceding successes and failures. The trees planted in Valparaiso and other cities we visited during the course of our trip presumably will stand for generations as living expressions of international peace and good will. Thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of people will rest in their grateful shade, and the eyes of most of them will be directed to the tablets bearing the message of good will.
If we are not above indulging in flights of imagination, we may perchance find our usually staid and unemotional selves raised to a sense of exaltations as we contemplate the coming of the day when the genius of men will all be directed to constructive undertakings and the roar of cannons heard no more. merely a gesture to be sure, but dire have been the consequences of gestures of ill will and there have been an abundance of them. It is high time that there be more gestures of good will, and what better or more appropriate than the planting of trees, the living, growing hope of the realization of the highest concept known to man — universal peace?”
*From Peregrinations, Volume III “Our Neighbors on the South” by Paul P. Harris
copyright 1937, Jean T. Harris
courtesy of the Rotary International Archives