The ambassador of the country of Lebanon to the United States of America, Gabriel Issa, joined the mayor of the city of Lebanon in Kansas, Rick Chapin, to plant the legendary Lebanese Cedar tree in the city of Lebanon in Kansas – United States.
During a special event titled “Cedar-of-Lebanon Tree Planting Ceremony,” and under the patronage of the State Governor Laura Kelly, the eternal tree of Lebanon was planted at what is known as the geographic center of the continental United States.
The ceremony was attended by our Lebanese ambassador to the US, Gabriel Issa, the mayor of the city of Lebanon in Kansas, Rick Chapin, and Congressman Roger Marshall (the Representative of the “Big 1st” District of Kansas), as well as a crowd of Lebanese people and American personalities, and the Lebanese delegation accompanying Ambassador Issa.
The planting of the cedar tree has multiple purposes. It is considered a statement of friendship between the Lebanese and American people, a consolidation of the name of the city that is located in the heart of the United States, and a strengthening of the bonds of friendship between the inhabitants of the city and the Country of Cedars: Lebanon.
It might come as news to some of you that there’s a city called Lebanon in Smith County, Kansas, United States. This city, which lies in the north-central part of the state, was founded in 1876 and was then moved to its current site in about 1887-1888.
The decision of planting a cedar tree in the Kansas city of Lebanon came right after a hunting expedition by two Lebanese men, Ajwad El Hachem and Joseph Nawfal, along with a group of their friends. Their expedition led them to come to face a road sign reading “Lebanon, KS.”
Their curiosity piqued, they followed the signs until they came across a chapel in that city of Lebanon and decided to step in. In a moment of serendipity, Ajwad El Hachem found a Bible with the page turned to one of the many passages mentioning the famed Lebanese Cedar.
From there, Ajwad left a note to the city’s council suggesting to plant a cedar tree. They hence connected and the council embraced the suggestion, which led to that day in which the city planted a Cedar Tree during that ceremony.