Memorial Day, although specifically a day to honor those who died in battle, has become a time to wax nostalgic about those who have gone before.
The East Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society, which keeps up the approximately 3,800 trees that grace the streets of the village, offers an opportunity to pay homage to a loved one while helping to defray the nonprofit group’s tree maintenance expenses. A plaque can be placed by an existing tree, or accompany the planting of a new tree, for $750.
“We have memorial plaques that go back to 1938,” said Olivia Brooks, the head of the L.V.I.S.’s tree committee. “The big hurricane was an impetus to raise monies after the loss of trees.”
Ms. Brooks also stressed that a dedication is not just to honor someone who has died. “It can be bought for a birthday, an anniversary, a family celebration,” she said. “It’s a great way to celebrate and give back a piece of green to this beautiful village.”
The $750 covers the cost of the plaque along with the “adoption” of a tree, and if anything happens to either the plaque or the tree, the L.V.I.S. will make replacements at no additional charge. “The $750 is like an insurance policy,” Ms. Brooks said. If the interested parties want the plaque paired with a particular tree, “the cost is a little more,” said Ms. Brooks. “We try to give people choices of tree sites before they select one.”
The brass plaque is secured into the top of a monument and sunk into wet cement by a professional mason. This year, Ms. Brooks said, there were about 30 plaques lost or damaged by storms, and the mason is replacing those.
Over 530 dedications already grace the trees in East Hampton, whose yearly upkeep, split between the L.V.I.S. and the village, can run around $300,000.