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 poem called Trees that was inspired by a famous New Brunswick white oak and was considered his greatest poem.
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.
Joyce Kilmer never visited his North Carolina memorial forest.