Memorial Tree to be planted at HD Park in Manila
The Mississippi County Library System and the Manila Depot Museum have collaborated to sponsor the planting of a World War I Memorial Tree in Herman Davis State Park in Manila. A planting ceremony will be held in the Park at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4.
The World War I Memorial Tree Project is the result of a partnership between the Arkansas World War I Centennial Commission Commemoration Committee and the Arkansas Forestry Commission. The purpose of the project is to encourage Arkansans to plant trees “to remember the 71,862 Arkansans who served during the Great War, including the 2,183 who died while in service.”
Herman Davis State Park surrounds the gravesite of, and monument to, Private Herman Davis, an Arkansas farm boy and war hero. Davis grew up hunting in the Manila area and later became a scout and sharpshooter in World War I.
Davis was the only Arkansan on General John J. Pershing's list of 100 Greatest Heroes of the World War. He was honored for his heroic actions on the battlefield during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive – most notably the taking of several German machine gun nests. Davis received the Distinguished Service Cross, Croix de Guere, and Medaille Militaire awards from the American and French governments.
Each Arkansas county is being offered one memorial tree. Soil from the Meuse-Argonne National Cemetery in France will be added to the Park’s ground when the willow oak is planted. The planting ceremony is being co-coordinated by the Mississippi County Library System, the Manila Depot Museum, and members of Manila’s American Legion Post 197. Speakers will include State Senator Dave Wallace and State Representative Johnny Rye.
More information concerning the life of Private Davis can be found in an article written by The Manila Depot Museum’s Donna Brewer Jackson in the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture at www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net.
The Mississippi County Library System is pleased to co-sponsor the memorial as part of its goal to promote understanding and preservation of the County’s cultural and community heritage.