Palm trees honor Sept. 11 victims

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Palm trees honor Sept. 11 victims

By LAURA MARBLE<br>Special to <em>The Gazette</em>
Published Tuesday, December 11, 2001 in The Island Packet  |  288 Words  |  /BeaufortGazette/local_news

BLUFFTON -- One by one, student council members at Michael C. Riley Elementary School stepped up to their new memorial garden and dropped roses.' Above a bed of flowering cabbages and pansies planted in front of the school, three
new palm trees tower.' One reaches high into the sky. That palm stands for the victims of the Sept. 11 collapse of the World Trade Center. A shorter palm stands for the victims of the Pentagon attack, and the smallest one -- half the
size of the tallest -- stands in memory of the Pennsyl-vania plane crash victims. ' A plaque at their base reads, "We remember. We honor. We unite."' The students dedicated the garden Monday morning, as Bluffton firefighters and
police watched. Also participating were members of the Low Country Golf Course Superintendent Association -- the group that paid for the garden and palms.' The garden was the idea of an M.C. Riley student, John-William Wilkerson, whose
father is president of the golf superintendents' association.' Every afternoon for the past several weeks, the fifth-grader and his father, Mitchell Wilkerson, have worked in the dirt to create the garden, before driving home at the end
of the school day.' John-William got the idea to plant palm trees while watching news about the Sept. 11 tragedy, he said.' "I learned that the (state) flag has a palm tree to represent South Carolina," he said. "Then I found out
New York had the most people that died. I said it should have the tallest tree."' Members of the association wanted to contribute something after the Sept. 11 attacks and John-William's idea fit the bill, Wilkerson said.