First Memorial Forest tree honours Spr Greenfield

Jennifer Cummings, Petawawa Post 4 November 2010

It was a fitting tribute to Sapper Sean Greenfield's memory as the first tree in the Afghanistan Memorial Forest was planted in his honour in a special ceremony on November 1.

The goal of the Memorial Forest is to provide a lasting link for families of fallen soldiers for generations to come, while enhancing the natural setting of the Memorial Park. Spr Greenfield's family said this is just the type of project Sean would have liked to be involved with.

"Planting trees in the Memorial Park is more than a way to honour soldiers but it is an environmental project as well and that is something Sean would have loved to be a part of," said sister Ainsley Christensen. "He was always interested in the environment and even said he was going to buy a hybrid car when he returned from Afghanistan."

Spr Greenfield, 25, was killed when the armoured vehicle he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device in the Zhari district, west of Kandahar city on January 31, 2009.

Spr Greenfield's father Keith Greenfield said the park will provide a place for friends, comrades, family and community members to remember his son.

"This park is an appropriate place for people to come and remember those lost," said Greenfield. "We thank everyone for sharing this moment with us and we are honoured that Seanís is the first tree planted here."

The Afghanistan Memorial Forest will be established in the area surrounding the Afghanistan Memorial Monument, a stone maple leaf that bears the names of Canada's fallen soldiers.

"The Afghanistan Memorial honours every soldier that gave their lives for their country and provides a place for families and friends to have a private reflection on their loved ones," said CFB Petawawa Base Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Keith Rudderham. "Spr Greenfield's tree will be the first of many planted here."

Spr Greenfield's sister Melanie Mangaard said the forest is a lasting way to honour soldiers. "We have been here in Petawawa for a long time," said Mangaard. "To have something planted, rooted permanently into the ground, in the place we call home is nice."

LCol Rudderham added the Base will continue to look after and care for the forest, giving Spr Greenfield and other soldiers memorialized in the park the respect they deserve.

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