Warren Peper’s recent moving comment on the Charleston Nine firefighters reminded me of something that, I believe, would be a worthy and impressive addition to the memorial park located at the site of their sacrifice.
When the memorial is viewed from the street, there is little to draw one’s attention to its presence, nor is there much to establish that it is a place of unique, hallowed importance. In addition, when entering the memorial grounds, the space evokes an empty, lonely feeling that is reinforced by the simple scattering of small installations that mark where the brave firefighters fell.
I propose that at each of the locations marking the fall of one of these brave men, a stately Italian cypress tree be planted. This very tall evergreen tree grows naturally to form what is reminiscent of the magnificent steeples seen on many houses of worship. These sentinels would stand as proud witness to those men and strongly state, even when seen from a distance, that this is a place of enduring honor that should be recognized by those whom they and their brethren protect.