As a gift of appreciation to the rooted historic Lebanese presence in the United States of America, Suzan Mouzi-Yassine, the Michigan-based Lebanese consul general in the Midwest, decided to end her diplomatic service to the Lebanese Americans in Michigan by reminding them of their dear Lebanon.
Consul General Suzan Mouzi-Yassine decided to plant the everlasting reminder in Birmingham where she resides, and another in front of the police station in Dearborn, which is the home of the largest single concentration of Lebanese Americans.
The two events took place in late August, as a gift for the Lebanese American community in Michigan from the counsel general, which mission she started in January 2018, and as she prepares to return to Lebanon.
Alongside her, representatives of local Lebanese and Arab American organizations and political, judicial, religious, and media figures attended the events.
These included Police Chief Ronald Haddad, Council President Susan Dabaja, council members Michael Sareini and Leslie Herrick, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Helal Farhat, 19th District Court Judges Sam Salamey and Mark Somers, and Islamic House of Wisdom Message of Hope Chief Hussein Elhaf.
“Through the history of time, the cedar tree has been viewed as something holy, rich in culture, dignified, and it served as an example of how human life should be conducted,” Police Chief Ronald Haddad said at the ceremony.
“We’re very honored to have this tree, and although it’s a long way from home, seeing how we have such a strong and large Lebanese community here, we welcome this tree being here. And we’re sure we’ll treat it as it would be treated back home in Lebanon,” Haddad added.
“As a fellow Lebanese American, I know there’s quite a few of you here today,” City Council President Dabaja said. “As someone who was born and raised in America but has had the honor and pleasure to visit back home and see where my family is from, I think it is such a sweet token to be able to plant it here in our city and allow my generation, the next generation, and generations to come, of Lebanese Americans, to come here and hopefully watch this beautiful tree grows. I think it’s a beautiful symbol.”
As for Judge Salamey, he said in his speech, “Today we dedicate this tree, a tree that is a symbol of Lebanon. It’s part of its heritage and culture and it is planted in the soil of the country that we love, cherish, adore, and proudly call home.”
The event concluded with a speech by Consul General Mouzi-Yassine, who shed the light on the importance of the cedar tree as a significant symbol of Lebanese culture and identity, as well as a sign of Lebanon’s perseverance and determination.
“The Lebanese immigrants do resemble the tree,” Mouzi-Yassine said. “Their roots were plucked from the hills of Lebanon upon which God laid his gracious hand and raised his messengers, yet we are deeply and fruitfully rooted here. They have nurtured the land onto which they have settled.”
“I hope with the planting of this tree, the Lebanese Americans will recall their heritage with pride and will cherish the strength of our Lebanese Americans’ bones that can find no greater symbol than the enduring legacy of Lebanese cedar,” she added.