Rochester plans to celebrate Hiroshima tree sapling on bombing anniversary

Jul 11, 2017

A small piece of Japanese history, donated to Rochester in 2015, was quietly planted at the end of June.  Now some residents want to make sure it isn't overlooked.

Rochester Historic District Commission member Matthew Monteiro intends to give the sapling the recognition it deserves, as it is related to a survivor of Hiroshima.

Yes, you read that correctly. The tree in question is a sapling from a 250-year-old ginkgo biloba tree which stood 1,500 yards from the epicenter of the A-bomb blast that leveled Hiroshima -- and survived.

The sapling was a gift of former Town Administrator Michael McCue, who had intended to formally plant it before he departed in 2016 to take a town planner position in Hanson.

With McCue's departure, the sapling fell by the wayside. It was planted without ceremony in late June by Highway Surveyor Jeff Eldridge, at the Dexter Lane Baseball Field.

Monteiro would like to see the tree receive the appropriate fanfare. "I'd like to have a small dedication ceremony on August 6," he explained to the Rochester Board of Selectmen on July 10.

August 6 is, of course, the date that the A-bomb fell on Hiroshima.

"Since 1947, people have taken August 6 to celebrate the spirit of the Japanese people," Monteiro explained.

Fellow saplings from the hardy surviving tree have been planted in prominent locations. Former EU General Secretary Ban Ki-moon planted one at United Nations headquarters in Geneva in 2016.