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Tree at Future American Revolution Museum Dedicated to Visionary Founder

By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Another dedication was held today at the construction site of the Museum of the American Revolution, now being built in Old City Philadelphia.

This time, it was for a tree -- a Valley Forge elm -- that has been designated the museum's "liberty tree."

Liberty trees were planted during Revolutionary times to show unwavering belief in the strength of America.

"Liberty  trees became symbols on flags," noted the museum's president and CEO, Michael Quinn.  "Villages designated 'liberty trees' up and down the eastern seaboard.   None of those historic liberty trees survive today.  So today we decided we would designate a new liberty tree."

Dignitaries were there with trowels in hand, scooping soil into the pot that currently holds the tree.

"The soil has come from the homes and graves of legendary heroes like Nathanael Greene, William Smallwood, Francis Marion, Reverend George Duffield, Johann de Kalb, Alexander Hamilton, and even from the grave in France of  the Marquis de Lafayette," said Quinn.

The tree was dedicated to the founding father of the museum, philanthropist Gerry Lenfest.

"We all need to understand (American) history so that our nation will continue to have a strong future," Lenfest said today.  "And all of you here are helping to bring that about, and I thank you."

The museum, at Third and Chestnut Streets, is expected to be completed in about two years.


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