Tue, 30 May 2023

FREETOWN, May 26 (Xinhua) -- A cotton tree taken as a symbol of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, which was brought down by a downpour late Wednesday, will be secured and preserved as the country's cultural legacy.

While announcing the decision on his official social media account late Thursday, President Julius Maada Bio said the relics of the fallen cotton tree will be taken to the country's museum, and preservation efforts will be spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs to serve as a reminder of the people's shared heritage and history.

The cotton tree is believed to be the site of the first settlement of freed slaves in the late 18th century. It has long been regarded as a cultural and historical landmark, revered by locals and visitors.

"For us, the Cotton Tree wasn't just a tree, it was a connection between the past, present, and the future, and we must strive to immortalize it," Bio said, urging all citizens to respect the rich cultural heritage of the iconic cotton tree by applying restraint to tamper or demolish the fallen tree.

"Together, we will preserve the legacy of unity, freedom, and liberty of our iconic Cotton Tree," he added.

The tree's fall has triggered an outpouring of grief across the nation and beyond, with many visitors flocking to the site to mourn its death in the daytime.

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