Politics

A Tree Not for All Seasons

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Heavy rains and wind in the Washington area had their way Tuesday with a White House landscaping staple: one of many long-standing trees that adorn the building's spectacular grounds.

A European Linden tree that was planted in 1940 on the White House's front lawn, known as the North Lawn, was tipped over by strong winds, leading to its demise. The incident is common byproduct of bad weather, but with a place as historical as the White House, many of its features have a significant historical meaning.

Luckily, this one did not fall into that category. It was not a commemorative tree of any sort, according to the White House; meaning it wasn't planted by a past president to mark any occasion or individual.

Almost exactly three years ago, though, the same perpetrator, bad weather, knocked down a century-old elm tree planted by President Theodore Roosevelt. It is the very tree seen on the back of a 20-dollar bill, to the right of the White House. The tree was later replaced.

Refusing to let Tuesday's loss become a waste, the National Park Service ground the tree into mulch Wednesday morning to be used on the very property where it fell.