Pulaski County in partnership with the Arkansas National Guard will host a WWI Memorial Tree Dedication, Friday, April 6 at noon. The dedication will be held at the Post Chapel, building 3300, at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock.
According to the Arkansas WWI Centennial website, “through a partnership of the Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee and the Arkansas Forestry Commission, Arkansans were urged to plant trees in 2017 and 2018 to remember the 71,862 Arkansans who served during the Great War, including the 2,183 who died while in service. The goal to have a memorial tree in each of Arkansas’s 75 counties by the time the commemoration concludes at the end of 2018 was achieved on March 22, 2018.”
The Arkansas Forestry Commission provided the trees for the Centennial Commemoration including the inaugural tree at the Old State House Museum in September 2017 and MacArthur Park in February.
“The Commemoration Committee has achieved and will exceed their goal as more organizations become aware of the project and its significance,” said Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde. “It is a wonderful idea and a great project to honor those who served in the Great War. And what better place to plant a memorial tree than Camp Robinson that serves as headquarters to the Arkansas National Guard and served as a training facility during World War I.”
Dedication speakers include Major General Mark H. Berry; Camp Robinson Chaplin, Major Jeremy Miller; and Post Commander of American Legion Post 74, R.D. Kinsey.
Identification is required to enter Camp Robinson; guests are encouraged to arrive early to obtain a visitor’s pass.
For more information, contact Cozetta Jones at email@example.com or 501-340-8523.
Camp Pike (now Camp Robinson) was established June 1917 to train soldiers for WWI. The City of Little Rock purchased 3,000 acres and gave them to the U.S. government and leased 10,000 acres to get Camp Pike in Arkansas. The Construction Quartermaster was MAJ John Fordyce, an Arkansan. The first soldiers arrived on Post for training on 5 September 1917.
At its peak, Camp Pike was home to 54,463 soldiers. In 1918, Camp Pike was hit hard by the Influenza Epidemic, with several hundred losing their lives to the outbreak. After the war, Camp Pike served as home to the 3rd Infantry Division and the Camp Pike College, a joint effort between the 3rd ID and the Knights of Columbus to prepare soldiers for return to civilian life. In 1922, the U.S. licensed the 6,000 acres (the original 3,000 plus 3,000 the Army had purchased) to the state for use as a training facility for the Arkansas National Guard.
Camp Pike was renamed Camp Joesph T. Robinson in 1938 after the death of Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator Joseph T. Robinson.
View “Arkansas and the Great War” produced by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Training exercises at the Citizens Training Camp in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). The caption indicates that one of the observers was then-governor Thomas McRae. Photo courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture via James McDaniel.