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Public Papers - 1991

Remarks at a Tree-Planting Ceremony


Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness, ladies and gentlemen, representatives of the American Association of Nurserymen, which donated this very special tree, welcome to the White House and to an event which commemorates -- whether in America or Great Britain -- how trees can preserve and protect our natural resources.

Winston Churchill once said: ``I am always ready to learn, though I do not always enjoy being taught.'' What trees teach us is how a precious inheritance can be passed from one generation to another. We see it in the forests of Nottingham and lush delta of Mississippi. We marvel at the Kew Gardens and evergreens of the Pacific Northwest. Trees form a great cathedral of the outdoors. We must nurture them, replenish them, as a family would a best friend.

Your Majesty, 54 years ago President Roosevelt did exactly that, celebrating the British-American family by praising a friend. In 1937, two small-leaf linden trees were planted in honor of your father, King George the Sixth's coronation. For decades they stood erect and proud, like the ties that bind our nations. And then last September, a storm swept through Washington, destroying one of the lindens planted for your father. Each served to remind all of us that trees are precious, but fragile, and they need our help, as we need their beauty.

Teddy Roosevelt once called our lands and wildlife ``the property of unborn generations.'' And so I can think of no better way to show our friendship, nor salute the children of both our countries than to plant a new linden tree. It is my honor now to dedicate this tree to a truly great and good man, King George the Sixth.

Note: The President spoke at 1:40 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom; His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Queen's husband; and King George VI , her late father.

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