Poet and World War I warrior Joyce Kilmer was the inspiration that resulted in the creation of a United States Forest Service Memorial Forest. Alfred Joyce Kilmer was born December 6, 1886 in Brunswick, New Jersey. He attended Rutgers College and Columbia University and had a passion for the outdoors. Joyce Kilmer wrote a famous poem called Trees.
Kilmer enlisted in the New York National Guard at the beginning of World War I and was killed in France by a fatal bullet to the head on a volunteer mission to locate enemy machine gun emplacements. Joyce Kilmer was only 32 years old at the time of his death and was awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery by the French government.
His tragic death thrust the budding writer and poet into the World spotlight and Kilmer also became a symbol for the struggle of the World War I soldier. Decades later the Veterans of Foreign Wars found a forested site to honor Joyce Kilmer and dedicated a bronze plaque embedded in a natural boulder to Kilmer in 1936. Joyce Kilmer never visited his North Carolina memorial forest.
Joyce Kilmer Dedication Plaque - Photo by Steve Nix, Licensed to About.com