French president says he'll give US new 'friendship tree' after first tree died

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

(PARIS) -- French President Emmanuel Macron says he will send the U.S. a new friendship tree after the first one one was reported dead earlier this week.

The original tree, planted as a symbol of solidarity between the two countries, was reported dead on Monday. Macron announced that he would send a new tree on Tuesday in an interview with Switzerland’s Radio Television Suisse.

“My interest was more about the history of this tree as it comes from my country, the heights of northern France. It was one of the battles that was very hard. And it was the American troops who came to fight,” he said.

The original tree, a European Sessile Oak, originated from France's Belleau Wood forest, where more than 9,000 U.S. Marines died in battle during World War I. It was planted on the South Lawn of the White House on April 23, 2018, during Macron's state visit to the U.S., but disappeared five days later.

While there was some speculation on what the death of the tree might symbolize, Macron said that the relationship between the U.S. and France remains strong.

“We will send another one,” Macron said during the interview. “That’s not a drama. You shouldn't see symbols where there aren't any.”

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