NAPLES – A hardy American linden tree will stand on the Naples Causeway, withstanding the winds that swoop across Brandy Pond and Long Lake, in memory of those who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Members of Naples government and the Naples Causeway Restoration Committee gathered Tuesday afternoon to ceremoniously shovel dirt on the new linden tree, also called a basswood tree.

The 10-year-old tree hails from Illinois and is one of several that were planted Tuesday as part of the restoration committee-envisioned tree canopy program for the entire causeway area. The causeway can get quite hot in summer, and the trees and bushes that will be planted will one day provide shade as well as beautification, committee Chairman Bob Neault said. Tuesday, Sept. 11, also happened to be the first day contractor Wyman and Simpson planned to install the trees.

“This is our first opportunity to plant and it just happened to fall on [Sept. 11] and we thought it would be an appropriate response to dedicate one of the trees to that event,” Neault said.

Neault and Naples Town Manager Derek Goodine both spoke at the short ceremony, which was held along the new boardwalk on the Long Lake side of the causeway. In his speech, Neault adapted a quote from President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

“The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it should never forget what happened on that fateful day on Sept. 11, 2001,” he said to the dozen or so onlookers. “Therefore we dedicate this stately American linden to the memory of those who perished at the hands of terrorists on Sept. 11 and also in memory of those who fight terrorism the world over.

“It is our hope that this tree will stand long and proud as a symbol of the patriotism of the citizens of Naples and the grateful appreciation of members of this community and the Lake Region of those who served this great country.”

Goodine recounted a family trip five years ago to Ground Zero as well as to a Sept. 11 memorial at the New York State Museum in Albany, where he saw a crushed New York City fire truck and pieces of the World Trade Center.

“No surprise I had to reach out and touch all of these things just because I wanted to feel that moment,” Goodine said. “There’s honor in my heart for the victims and pride for America.”

Also present at the ceremony, and helping with shoveling dirt onto the newly planted tree, were Naples Selectman Bob Caron and restoration committee members Barbara Clark, Maggie Krainin and Kathy Sweet.

Neault said he is “absolutely ecstatic to see some trees going up. We’re going to wait until spring to plant the lower bush-type plants, but they’re going to continue planting trees on the Causeway, and it’s going to just spruce it up that much more.”

Naples Causeway Restoration Committee members marked Sept. 11 with the dedication of an American linden tree Tuesday afternoon on the Naples Causeway. From left are Naples selectman Bob Caron and restoration committee members Bob Neault, Barbara Clark, Maggie Krainin, Town Manager Derek Goodine, and Kathy Sweet. (Staff photo by John Balentine)

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