Tree Lighting Set

BAR HARBOR — A perpetually lit Christmas tree dedicated to America’s service men and women will be turned on in Agamont Park during a ceremony set for Saturday, July 9.

The lighted tree, part of a memorial called “The Christmas They Never Had,” is a project of Wreaths Across America, the nonprofit arm of the Worcester Wreath Company of Columbia Falls. Five hundred color LED lights on the tree will be turned on at approximately 9 p.m., following the group’s first annual gala dinner at the Bar Harbor Club.

The ceremony will be attended by active and retired service men and women from across the country, including 86-year-old Sir Stanley Wotjusik, a World War II prisoner and survivor of the Battle of the Bulge, according to press materials.

The seven-member Bar Harbor town council approved of the perpetually lit tree with a unanimous vote in April, even after the town’s parks and recreation committee and town manager Dana Reed recommended they turn the project down because of the perceived religious symbolism.

In the days following the vote, several town councilors said privately, on condition of anonymity, that they were opposed to the project but were afraid of looking unpatriotic.

The tree is to remain lit year-round for two years, at which time the project is to be reassessed.

Wreaths Across America will be responsible for all maintenance, and will pay the electric cost, estimated at $250 for the two-year period.

Ms. Worcester said. While the tree is symbolic of Christmas, its deeper symbolism as a veteran’s memorial will overcome any religious meaning, she said.

“It is a Christmas tree, but it’s not an exclusive thing. It’s inclusive of everybody that’s been touched by war and sacrifice,” she said.

For more, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]