Cades Cove's 'Pearl Harbor Tree' rooted in history

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - It has been seventy-seven years since the U.S. Naval Base on Pearl Harbor was attacked. More than 2,300 military service members were killed and hundreds of planes and vessels were destroyed.

Nearly five thousand miles away from the Pearl Harbor attacks on December 7, 1941 there is part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that came to life that day and is stronger than ever.

Occasionally, National Park volunteer Jim Burbank visits the 'Pearl Harbor Tree' to go back to what happened that day in Hawaii and honor what happened in Cades Cove.

"Let's go back to December 8, 1941," said Burbank. "The Myers were sitting around the table listening to their radio when it was interrupted by the president announcing that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor."

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941. The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan," announced President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In a moment of mourning, Golman Myers planted a red gum sapling in his front yard.

"He put a split rim around this little tree he planted. For whatever reason, he felt that was something he needed to do," said Burbank.

Every year the tree grows, the further the split rim pulls apart, the further away we get from that day.

Burbank explained the rumor is that Myers took a hammer and a nail to a piece of brass and carved a special tribute that he chained to his tree.

"He put the names of the men who served in the Pacific theater in World War II. We've lost that now so we don't have it anymore," said Burbank.

There is no sign or trail leading to the tree, the Myers family didn't want one, but people find their way.

"People have come to pay homage to it in their own special way," he said.

As the tree grows larger, so too do the tributes. The tree is surrounded by American Flags tucked into the chain.

Planted that infamous day, rooted in respect.

Click here for directions to the 'Pearl Harbor Tree' in Cades Cove.