Photo Information

The National Museum of the Marine Corps planted a tree from Belleau Wood, France on June 6, 2022. On this day 104 years ago, the Marines of the 5th and 6th Regiments began a coordinated assault to dislodge German forces, it's called the Battle of Belleau Wood. The National Museum of the Marine Corps commemorates the Marines who fought there by planting the ancestors of the trees they fought under.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brian Stippey

Living Memorial

8 Jun 2022 | Lance Cpl. Hailey Music Defense Media Activity

Ancestors of the trees from the Battle of Belleau Wood now stand at the National Museum of the Marine Corps as a living memorial to the Marines, soldiers and sailors who fought there.

Eight trees from Belleau Wood, France were planted on the 104th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Belleau Wood, on June 6, 2022, at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

The trees were planted during a memorial ceremony that took place to honor the U.S. service members who fought in the battle.

“The trees we are planting today are part of a project,” explained retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Scott Yost, “Dedicated to establishing groves of Belleau Wood ‘decedent trees’ throughout the United States.”

A project over 20 years in the making, retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. John Glitz first had the idea to import acorns from Belleau Wood, France, the home of an oak grove that witnessed the largest and costliest battle that the Marine Corps had fought up to that point.

On June 6, 1918, Marines from the 5th and 6th Regiments began a coordinated assault to dislodge German forces that were threatening Paris. The battle approached nearly three weeks before German forces withdrew. To honor the Marines that fought there, the French renamed the wood “Bois de la Brigade de Marine” or “Wood of the Marine Brigade”.

“The planting of these trees allows us to bring home a small piece of what our forefathers fought to take.” U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Scott Yost, retired

"And create our own ‘Wood of the Marine Brigade," stated Lt. Col. Yost. 

The symbolism of these trees, however, goes beyond memorializing the Marines that fought in the Battle of Belleau Wood.

“I hope that they are a living memorial to those that fought, and a living reminder to those of us that have come since and those that will come in the future of the great valor and their willingness to do their duty under great fear in a ferocious battle,” detailed Col. Glitz, “We are proud of what they did, we honor what they did, and every Marine, soldier and sailor in the future should look back and measure themselves against what they did.”

Col. Glitz went on to talk about the importance of the trees’ location at the National Museum of the Marine Corps by saying that it is the perfect place for millions of Marines from past, present and future to come and reflect on Marine Corps history, but also to look inward.

“We honor them here, but also future Marines, Marines that haven’t been born yet will be able to come here and reflect on themselves… and measure themselves against what they did,” said Col. Glitz, “Just standing under these trees and thinking about what it is to be a Marine.”