Obama dedicates tree in Australia

Nov. 16, 2011 at 10:19 PM

CANBERRA, Australia, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama dedicated a white oak tree at the American Embassy in Australia Thursday.

Obama noted he was to have planted the sapling, the state tree of Illinois, during a scheduled 2010 visit he had to cancel.

"I'm honored," he said. "A white oak from Illinois ... ."

Obama and Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich jointly unveiled a plaque showing that the president had dedicated the tree.

The ambassador divulged the oak was doing fine after a rough start.

"It was looking like that Charlie Brown Christmas tree -- a little sad," the ambassador said.

Obama was greeted by the embassy staff and Bleich provided a bit of its link to celebrity history, saying actor Jackie Chan "grew up in the house." Chan's father was a chef for the U.S. Embassy.

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