Rep. n° 06/2023
Brookwood Military Cemetery/Žilina/Vysoká nad Kysucou, March 19 – 22, 2023. Today, March 22, 2023, an extraordinary project that lasted more than one and a half years was completed in the Biblical Garden in Vysoká nad Kysucou. Today we have completed the efforts of many people of good will who have come together to pay tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II. Today’s event was preceded by several other high level events.
On Sunday, March 19, 2023 Mr. Marek Sobola, Secretary-General & Founder of Servare et Manere, (responsible for the International Tree of Peace Project) and Mrs. Gerry Manolas Chair of the Memorial Association for Free Czechoslovak Veterans (MAFCSV) held a special tree planting ceremony together at Brookwood Military Cemetery. For NGO Servare et Manere association, trees are a means of expressing many thoughts and for marking important events. Throughout the ages the act of planting trees has been one of the tools of cultural diplomacy between nations. The late Queen Elizabeth asked us all to mark her Platinum Jubilee by planting trees as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) initiative. Marek Sobola took this idea and approached His Excellency Nigel Baker, HM Ambassador to Slovakia and asked him to plant a Platinum Jubilee Tree in Carl Gustav Swensson Park in Žilina. This was achieved in November 2021 under the official auspices of the British Embassy in Bratislava, but unfortunately the Slovak oak tree could not be entered onto the official list or be marked on the official map, because Slovakia was not a commonwealth country. This then gave rise to the idea of planting a ‘sister’ tree here in the United Kingdom. One that would directly connect our three countries and commemorate this year’s 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the independent Czech and Slovak Republics. What makes this a unique part of the QGC project, is that as far as we know, no one has planted International Jubilee Trees in this way. The chosen tree for the United Kingdom was a Prunus Padus – A Bird Cherry Tree, and was planted by H.E. the Slovak Ambassador Mr. Róbert Ondrejcsák and H.E. the Czech Ambassador Mrs. Marie Chatardová, Mr. Marek Sobola and Mrs. Gerry Manolas. The event was also attended by Richard Arseneault the interim Superintendent of the American Battle Monuments Commission, John Polak Treasurer of the MAFCSV, Mr. Lukáš Macek member of Servare et Manere, Martina and Tomas Jones, Eddie Jones and Sheryl, Antony McCallum, Evandro Manolas, Monsieur Chatard, and Ambassador Ondrejcsák’s daughter.
We also sprinkled a handful of soil brought from two Slovak locations to the roots of the Sister Jubilee Tree. It was the soil from the roots of the second Sister Tree from Žilina town and the soil from the Biblical Garden from Vysoká nad Kysucou village, where the Rose variety ‘Queen Elizabeth’ grows, which we planted the day before the Queen’s funeral. In addition, in Brookwood, where many Czechoslovak soldiers are buried, we also commemorated the 65th anniversary, when Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a World War II memorial here. It’s another nice symbolism associated with the late Queen.
After the tree planting ceremony Marek Sobola presented Mr. Antony McCallum with the Servare et Manere, Friend of Peace honorary title and honourable mention, and Mrs. Gerry Manolas with the Memorial Medal of the Tree of Peace. Both were delighted to receive their certificates and recognition for their support and work in remembering the veterans, promoting peace, and developing strong ties between our countries. After the event Marek Sobola and Lukáš Macek visited Windsor Castle and St. George’s Chapel where they stayed to listen to the evening mass. After they spoke to the priest and explained about planting the Jubilee Tree at Brookwood and als the one in Slovakia. He very kindly allowed them to visit the tomb of Her Late Majesty and pay their respects in person.
More photos of the Sister Tree planting at Brookwood can be found >>> at this link <<<
Just today, March 22, in Vysoká nad Kysucou, in the Biblical Garden, we finished this exceptional project that lasted more than a year and a half. From Brookwood, we brought not only soil from the roots of the Sister Jubilee Tree, but also a small oak sapling that we planted in the garden. It will be the little brother of these two Slovak-British Jubilee Sisters who will grow in the Biblical Garden in Vysoká nad Kysucou and will be nourished not only by a handful of English soil, but also by the legacy of an unforgettable Queen. As a legacy for future generations, we placed British and Slovak coins at the roots. The entire event in the United Kingdom was financially supported by the Parish and also the Village of Vysoká nad Kysucou.