October 23, 2003



Blessed with trees

It’s the season of trees, the time of year when maples explode in golds and reds. It’s the time oaks ease into bronze, the time ginkos drop their small yellow hearts on the same night all over town. It’s the time the lowly tree, always mute, always humble, delivers its yearly message of wonder and transformation.

It’s an appropriate time to honor the man who, more than any other single person, brought us those trees.

At Monday night’s Council meeting, Mayor David Foubert did just that, proclaiming Oct. 20–26 as “Lloyd Kennedy’s Tree Committee Week.”

The guiding force behind the Tree Committee for 40 years, Mr. Kennedy “has exhibited dedication to planting trees — not just any tree, but the right tree for the right spot — on public lands all over Yellow Springs,” according to the proclamation. Furthermore, wrote Foubert, “it has been said, his spade was in every hole for the first 500 trees that were planted.”

On Monday, Mr. Kennedy was gracious, insisting on sharing the honor with the many men and women who have, along with him over the years, planned and planted hundreds, thousands of trees. And Yellow Springs has been richly blessed with their efforts.

But Monday’s proclamation also reminds us that we have been blessed to have Lloyd Kennedy in our midst, showing us what one man with a passion can do for a village.

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Be bold, look to history

At Monday’s Village Council meeting, a local resident, asking Council members to take a stand against the Patriot Act, made this request: “Keep in mind what Yellow Springs stands for. Keep in mind who we are.”

Who are we?

Yellow Springs history tells us who we were. For two centuries, those who valued individuality and freedom of thought called Yellow Springs home. In 1853 Horace Mann insisted that his new college be secular, at the time a radical notion. A pious man, Mann valued religion but valued intellectual freedom more, fearing that religious affiliation would undermine free intellectual exchange. His stance meant that the college perennially lacked cash, but it grew rich in talk and ideas.

During the 1950s Red Scare, little Antioch College faced pressure from the powerful House Unamerican Activities Committee--and the mockery of many area newspapers-- because it would not kick out its students and faculty accused of having Communist leanings. But college officials stood firm, insisting that freedom begins not in suppressing unpopular ideas but in holding all ideas up to the light.

During the 1960s and 70s, many villagers and Antioch students put their bodies, and sometimes their lives, on the line in the fight for civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War.

Who are we?

If it seeks an answer in village history, Council will be bold, taking a stand against a federal government that has overreached its power and now threatens Americans’ basic freedoms.

—Diane Chiddister