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The Tree of Hearts and Three Cherry Trees

The City of Monterey used art and community togetherness to create the “Tree of Hearts” at Friendly Plaza and the three cherry tree site at Foam Street and Cannery Row in observance of the one year anniversary of the pandemic emergency in Monterey.

March 13, 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of the emergency COVID-19 pandemic response in Monterey County. The community mourned, honored, and celebrated the lives lost this year by hanging 500 hearts on the magnolia tree in Friendly Plaza. Beginning on March 12th, community members, in a socially distanced and masked manner, were invited to bring permanent markers to write the names of loved ones on hearts to be remembered and honored. Community members were encouraged to take a photo next to the tree and email them to the City of Monterey City Council and Staff to be then posted on the City website. These hearts hung on the magnolia tree for one month. On April 14th, the hearts were collected from the tree and made into a beautifully framed mosaic collage. This collage hangs in the City Council Chamber as a COVID-19 remembrance memorial.

A dedication cherry tree planting event also took place along the Recreation Trail at Foam Street and Cannery Row (near the basketball courts). One of the trees was planted in memory of all the lives lost during the pandemic. Another tree represents and honors all of the healthcare workers, especially those in Monterey County, who worked tirelessly to keep our community safe. The third cherry tree is dedicated to all frontline workers and community partnerships who provided our community with essential services during the crisis. These three cherry trees will blossom every year during the springtime in memory of the lives lost to the pandemic. Once the pandemic is over, this site may later be dedicated as a COVID-19 memorial.

“This is really a healing exercise as we as individuals and as a community work past this unprecedented chronic world crisis,” said Mayor Clyde Roberson. “As President Biden said, ‘to heal, we must remember.’”

The tree of hearts and cherry tree dedication was collated into a video tribute, in addition to Colton Hall being lit in gold. The video premiered on March 13th.

In appreciation and admiration for all the healthcare, public safety, and frontline workers as well as teachers, small business owners, and anyone financially and emotionally struggling due to COVID-19, the City of Monterey City Council and Staff shares, “We care and we hope you feel supported. Thank you for helping us get through this crisis. We continue to make good progress, as we start to see signs that the end of the pandemic is in sight. Monterey remains strong, thanks to so many local community heroes.”

“We greatly encourage participation in the ‘hearts on trees’ dedication, and for people to take a walk to see the newly planted, beautiful, blossoming trees at the Recreation Trail,” said Mayor Clyde Roberson. “We hope both observances help bring some tranquility, unity, and comfort while we continue this fight to the end.”

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