This Veterans Day, members of the community will gather not only to extend their thanks to military personnel, but also to show them visually that they are appreciated with a simple gesture: planting flowering trees.
Vision Academy of the Arts has been planting daffodils in honor and memory of community members from all walks of life for about 15 years, but this year they've added redbuds -- what the group's "ways and means chair" Sheila Adams is calling "the heart of our soldiers."
While the redbuds can also be planted for those who have not served, the non-profit added the flowering trees this year especially with military in mind.
"We've got to start supporting these guys, especially after they come home after two or three tours," Adams said. "After WWII we had parades and the whole bit to welcome them home, and now we just kind of ignore them -- It breaks my heart."
The idea, says Vision Academy President Jackie Byers, is that planting these redbuds "beautifies the community for the military coming home to let them know that they are important."
Byers said she is also looking forward to planting the traditional daffodils around town.
"We do this in honor or memory of loved ones, family and friends," Byers said of the plantings. "Daffodils are the first sign of hope in the spring so it kind of brightens up everyone's winter blues and makes us all feel good about living here."
Over the past 10 to 15 years, Vision Academy has planted thousands of daffodils across the Mountain Area.
Special rates for daffodils and redbuds are being offered for the planting. Bags of 50 daffodils can be purchased for $20 at Western Sierra Nursery in Oakhurst or through Vision Academy, and redbuds can be purchased through Vision Academy, which gets them from Wells Nursery in Coarsegold. Redbuds are for $7 for a one gallon and $12 for a two gallon pot. The pink flowering shrubs can grow about 12 feet tall.
For those interested in Vision Academy of the Arts doing the purchasing and planting, flower money can be mailed to P.O. Box 1272.
For those interested in helping plant them around town, Vision Academy will meet in the parking lot of Western Sierra Nursery at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 12. Byers said she is hoping churches involved will do their plantings on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11.
Wire baskets can also be made to place beneath roots to keep ground squirrels from undercutting them, she said. Redbuds need to be planted close to a water source, or in front of a place where people will water them, she said.
"This is for anybody that we love and care for, past or present, in honor or memory," Byers said. "We don't have to limit it to when they are gone. It's kind of nice to share something while they are here."
Details: Jackie Byers, (559) 683-7071.