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Lake Oswego Firefighters Pay Tribute

by: Vern Uyetake, Lake Oswego Firefighter Dick Griffins ties a ribbon on the commemorative “Freedom Tree” Monday. The tree was planted by the Lake Grove Garden Club in 2002.

In a tribute to firefighters fallen on Sept. 11, 2001, the Lake Grove Garden Club dedicated a tree Monday at the fire station in Lake Grove.

The group cut the ribbon on a dogwood tree along Bryant Road, joined by firefighters from Lake Oswego Fire, in honor of those who gave their lives in New York City as the World Trade Center towers collapsed.

In a short speech, garden club member Phyllis Miller recalled the events of Sept. 11, noting that 343 firefighters were killed.

'May their sacrifice never be forgotten and may the fine firefighters who protect us here at home in Oregon be valued for their own courageous service,' Miller said.

The club, which has 38 members, is best known for its spring plant sale but offers an annual scholarship to a Lake Oswego student and has sponsored a number of garden projects around town.

The garden club's members chose the Lake Grove station as the site to commemorate firefighters in 2002, and first planted a tree there that year. They returned Monday, on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, to dedicate the tree with a plaque and ceremony.

Lake Oswego Fire Chief Ed Wilson, who attended the ceremony, said the events of Sept. 11 helped educate Americans about the job firefighters do. He said the trend to support firefighters continues as a result.

'Today is a great honor for us, not only that somebody in our community would acknowledge the firefighters in New York and their sacrifice, but also the firefighters in Lake Oswego and what we do,' Wilson said.

He said events like Monday's tree dedication help to remind people that firefighters are the first line of defense in an emergency.