A Tree for Every Hero

Mark Cullen is one of Canada's leading experts in gardening, a Member of the Order of Canada, author and broadcaster, as well as a supporter of his most recent initiative A Tree for Every Hero. In the November issue of his newsletter, Mark Cullen reflects on Remembrance Day. The following is an excerpt from his newsletter.

While taking time to remember, it almost goes without saying that November is the best time of year to remember something else: our freedom. More to the point, the cost of our freedom. The 11th is Remembrance Day. November is remembrance month. Wear a poppy and contemplate the price of peace.

Hugh Beaty
Hugh Beaty – Photo source: Mark Cullen

Say what? The price of peace. My late friend Hugh Beaty talked extensively about it. He was a veteran of WWII and he lived to promote his cause every day of his adult life. At the age of 58 he sold everything on his family farm and took off for Brazil to teach hungry people how to feed themselves by sharing knowledge that he had acquired as a lifelong dairy farmer in Ontario.

Giving up the creature comforts of home and the certainties of a well established career was only natural for Hugh and his wife Melba. They knew themselves and had clear priorities. In his words, "I saw the waste of war. The utter and complete waste of the thing and I wanted to do something to make the world a better place."

Acknowledge the cost of Freedom

Hugh inspired me to join a group of committed environmentalists and proud Canadians to acknowledge the cost of freedom by planting trees on the Highway of Heroes, 117,000, one for each of Canada's war dead.

It's called the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute and you can learn more about it at

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Three ceremonial plantings took place on November 5, 2016 on the Highway of Heroes in Toronto, Cobourg and Trenton. Photo source: Mark Cullen