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Sign added to Smyrna grove
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Jim Bergamaschi, president of the Ceres Garden Club, stands by a new monument sign designating the Let Freedom Ring grove at Smyrna Park. The grove was planted last year at a cost of $3,000 and the club raised another $3,000 for this concrete sign. - photo by DON COOL/ Special to the Courier

One year ago the Ceres Garden Club added a grove of 44 trees to Smyrna Park in honor each the 44 men who served as president of the United States.

Recently the club added a large $3,000 monument sign to augment the collection of fruitless aristocrat pear trees which is called "Let Freedom Ring Grove."

Club president Jim Bergamaschi said his club felt the grove, which lines a sidewalk in the western side of the park, would be a wonderful gift to Ceres. The grove was an inspiration of the club and the late Shirley Davis, who helped plant the trees on April 14, 2012 but died nine days later. Davis felt that the trees would not only beautify the park but allow park users - and visiting school children - a chance to read the names and terms of offices of each man.

"It's a wonderful addition to Smyrna Park," said Eric Ingwerson, a member of the Ceres City Council.
The club raised $6,000 to fund the "Let Freedom Ring" grove. Each tree has been assigned a president's name and years of service on a small in-ground granite marker.

The trees George Washington at the west end with successive presidents alternating sides of the walkway until completed with Barack Obama at a high point in the park. There will be room to add future presidents.

While 43 men served as president, there are 44 trees in the grove since two trees represent two non-consecutive terms served by Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th terms).

Only five American presidents live today - Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.