This article was translated by John R. Bopp

In February 2016, we announced that a sapling of the Tree of Guernica was going to be planted at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.  At the time, we commented that this act would close the circle opened by the visit of John Adams, the second US president, to the Land of the Basques, as well as serve as recognition of generations of Basques who contributed their work and will to the building of that Country

Planting the sapling of the Tree of Guernica in Washington
Planting the sapling of the Tree of Guernica in Washington

Sarah D. Wire, a journalist for the Los Angeles Times who covers events at the Capitol, wrote a report on the ceremony of the planting of the oak in the gardens surrounding the building.  California Congressman John Garamendi (who we’ve mentioned before) and his family were there, along with Basques from both sides of the Atlantic who sang a powerfully symbolic hymn, “Gernikako Arbola” (the Tree of Guernica).

When the citizens of the US celebrate their Independence Day on July 4 by passing through the Folklife Festival on the National Mall, they’ll be able to learn the not few contributions this small people has made in the US.

But, as Vince J. Juaristi has explained so well in his articles, this extraordinary event marks the victory and recognition of the Basques who went to the US for over 200 years looking for a better life, but adding to their adopted homeland their culture, hard work, and spirit of sacrifice and willpower to create a just, cohesive, and organized society.

Los Angeles Times – 1/7/2016 – USA

California congressman brings his Basque roots to Capitol Hill

John Garamendi wanted to feel the dirt in his hands as a piece of his Basque heritage was planted on U.S. Capitol grounds Friday. After pitching a ceremonial shovelful of dirt over the roots of an oak sapling, Garamendi knelt, grasped a handful of dirt and sifted clumped soil through his fingers. Soon the two dozen spectators joined him, covering the roots of the 4-foot tree. Several of his granddaughters helped “Papa” scoop up the dirt. “The Basque people are connected to the earth, to their place,” Garamendi said. “It’s where the roots are… the earth, the ground, the soil.” The assembled crowd broke into the Basque anthem when they finished planting the tree, and Garamendi paused an interview to listen.

(Continue) (Automatic translation)


Last Updated on Dec 20, 2020 by About Basque Country

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