Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stamp Out The BEETLES!

On 7 February, 1964 The Fab Four had made one of the most historic landings of all time as they stepped out of their PANAM flight 101 and onto US soil starting the world shaking event that we call, The British Invasion (read about The Beatles arrival here).  During their first US press conference that day it was brought to The Beatles attention that a campaign originating in Detroit Michigan called "Stamp Out The Beatles" began. When asked about the campaign Paul replied, "Yeah, well... first of all we're bring out the Stamp Out Detroit campaign.", John said "What about it?", while Ringo asked, "How big are they?", but today 22 July, 2014 a new meaning was taken to the campaign. Instead of stamping out our beloved Liverpool lads we're looking to stamp out bark beetles and ladybug beetles who have taken a liking to a memorial for George Harrison, who passed away from cancer at a friends home in Los Angeles on 29 November, 2001, in Griffith Park, Los Angeles.

Part of Friar Park gardens
It's arguable that George Harrison was the friendliest of the mop-headed crew (read about some of his closest friends from Ravi Shankar to his son Dhani Harrison here ), which leads to no surprise that many memorials have been dedicated for not only his music but for his love and long lasting impressions he left in the world. George Harrison, a musician, writer, and a dedicated gardener, he himself saying, "I'm not really a career person, I'm a gardener basically." (Read about George the gardener here). Harrison even took care of his home, Friar Park's, lavished and full grounds and gardens and often attending the Chelsea Flower Show with his wife Olivia, Ringo, and Ringo's wife Barbara, It was only appropriate for "Our favorite Angelenos," as called by Councilmember Tom Labonge in 2004, to be honored with a plant, a tree in fact, at the base of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park.

On approaching  the tree a black black with bronzey- gold lettering reads;
George Harrison Tree
In memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist,
a musician and a gardener. 
"For the forest to be green, each tree must be green."
George Harrison (1943-2001)
George Harrison
On the 22 February, 2004, now marked in LA's history as George Harrison Day,  Councilmember LaBonge hosted the tree's opening as they revealed the plaque along with live performances by Keith Chagall, who performed his own tribute to George with his "Soundlight", Paul and Ringo crooning through two of their baby brothers greatest works with "Here Comes The Sun" and "My Sweet Lord", and even Jackie Lomax performed an original piece about his beloved friend, and memories shared by friends, amongst two who couldn't attend, Billy Preston and Olivia Harrison, who both sent in messages thanking and remembering George, which were read to the audience. At the opening ceremony Labonge stated the following;
"George Harrison was and always will be one of our favorite Angelenos. His performance with the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl was unforgettable. He lived on Blue Jay Way in the Hollywood Hills and wrote a haunting song about it. He married a native Angeleno, Olivia Arias, and they were a devoted team. His legacy as a humanitarian has few equals in the world. And, sadly, he died in Los Angeles. But upon his demise, he became an angel in the City of Angels and we are forever grateful for his contributions to the world."
 To this day the tree planted in his memory has grown over ten feet tall and had unfortunately been removed due to it's battling with a bug infestation. The Los Angeles Times posted;
"Trees in Griffith Park have occasionally been the victims of bark beetles and ladybug beetles, among other-tree unfriendly creatures."- Los Angeles Times, George Harrison Memorial Tree killed... by beetles; replanting due
 As said in the Los Angeles Times article name, the tree is in process of being replanted.

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