75th Anniversary of WWII’s Most Iconic Battle is Being Commemorated by the Creation of the “Iwo Jima Memorial Legacy Forest”

PAAUILO, Hawaii, Feb. 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI) today announced that it has joined with The Veterans Movement Foundation (VMF) to create the Iwo Jima Memorial Legacy Forest. Its first planting will consist of 6,821 Koa Legacy Trees. Each tree planted will be dedicated to each specific soldier who died during that five week-long battle.

Who could forget the iconic image of six U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi? This photograph was later memorialized in bronze by famed sculptor Felix de Weldon. This world-famous statue now stands outside of Arlington National Cemetery.

As part of this initiative, an original hand-signed graphite drawing of this Marine Corps War Memorial by Felix De Weldon is being donated to The Veterans Movement Foundation in honor of the 75th anniversary. This rare artifact is being paired with a koa framed display of military dog tags with the names of every soldier who perished during the battle. This massive 1,100-pound exhibit is mounted from the ceiling and will showcase each of the 6,821 dog tags that hang down from the display like an inverted forest. Both pieces will be donated to the nonprofit The Veterans Movement Foundation (VMF), a Honolulu-based nonprofit organization that represents hundreds of thousands of active duty service members as well as our U.S. military veterans.

Individuals can participate in honoring these soldiers by sponsoring a Legacy Tree in the Iwo Jima Memorial Legacy Forest. In doing so, each sponsor will receive a certificate in the name of the soldier, a memorial dog tag with the soldier’s ID and an RFID chip number which will allow the sponsor to go online and see their tree from space over the tree’s entire lifetime. For each $90 Legacy Tree sponsorship, $30 of the proceeds will be donated to The Veterans Movement Foundation.

“The inspiration behind this project is to honor these soldiers with a memorial representing life, growing grander year after year,” said HLRI Executive Director Jeff Dunster.

“In the Hawaiian language, the word ‘koa’ means ‘strong, brave, fearless.’ Koa is known as ‘the warrior tree’ and is revered in Hawaiian culture. What better way to honor these brave soldiers than by planting a Hawaiian Koa Legacy Tree?” said Carl Vincenti, Commander, The Veterans Movement Foundation Chairman.

For more information and to sponsor a Legacy Tree in the Iwo Jima Legacy Forest, visit legacytrees.org/veterans.

Each Legacy Tree has a story to tell, planted and sponsored as a living legacy to honor an individual or memorialize a loved one. Trees are individually tagged and can be tracked throughout their lifetime with a unique RFID (radio-frequency identification) number by visiting TreeTrackerTM at findmy.LegacyTrees.org.

About HLRI: Through state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies, HLRI works with landowners to establish and preserve economically viable and sustainable endemic Hawaiian forests, protect endangered species, sequester carbon and recharge watersheds. HLRI’s Legacy Trees are sponsored by businesses and individuals, with a portion of proceeds donated to other charities worldwide. For more, visit LegacyTrees.org

About VMF: The Veterans Movement Foundation is a Honolulu-based nonprofit organization that serves U.S. military veterans. As part of its HEAL mission, the organization works to ensure veterans with medical needs receive access to free high-quality healthcare, including mental health and specialized services, and live longer, healthier lives.

Teddi Anderson
President, TLC PR
(808) 535-9099